Ethiopia's Policy Towards the AU: Time to Look Beyond Unique Contributions & Special Responsibilities

The Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy (FANSPS) is Ethiopia’s well articulated foreign and security policy. Its substantive anchor on development and stability as well as geographic focus on the Horn of Africa and Egypt reflects divergence from previous regime’s assessment of the state of affairs of Ethiopia and the means (including diplomacy) necessary to move forward. However, Ethiopia’s detailed policies towards the Horn of Africa and to that matter the entire Africa are not a substitute to its policy towards the AU for the following reasons: Firstly, like any multilateral regional governance institution, the AU constitutes more than a summation of the member states. The AU’s norms, institutions and procedures do not readily aggregate the preferences of each member states. They rather look for an overlapping consensus as stated in the AU Constitutive Act and its various decision and policy making, and implementation organs. Thus, AU offers opportunities to countries like Ethiopia to influence, shape and impact continental policies that have bearings internally and regionally.