Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31837
Political Finance in Africa: Ethiopia as a Case Study

Authors: Wondwosen Teshome B.


Since 1991 Ethiopia has officially adopted multi-party democracy. At present, there are 89 registered political parties in the country. Though political parties play an important role in the functioning of a democratic government, how to fund them is an issue of major concern. Political parties and individual candidates running for political office have to raise funds for election campaigns, and to survive as political candidates. The aim of this paper is to examine party funding problems in Africa by taking the case of Ethiopia as an example. The paper also evaluates the motives of local and international donors in giving financial and material support to political parties in emerging democracies and assesses the merits and de-merits of their donations.

Keywords: Africa, State funding, Ethiopia, Political finance, Political party, Western donors.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1862


[1] Matthias Canton (November 2007): Effective Party Assistance: Stronger Parties for Better Democracy. Policy Paper. IDEA.
[2] NDI (National Democratic Institute) (1991): Funding of Political Parties: An International Comparative Study. Washington.
[3] Clare Ettinghausen (Ed.) (2006): Paying for Politics: The Principles of Funding Political Parties. A Hansard Society discussion paper. London: Hansard Society.
[4] Lisa Young, Anthony Sayers, Harold Jansen, and Munroe Eagles (2005): "Implications of State Funding for Party Organization". Paper for Presentation to the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 1-4, 2005.
[5] Ulrich von Alemann (2000): "Party Finance, Party Donations and Corruption," Submitted for a TI workshop on corruption and political party funding in La Pietra, Italy, October 2000.
[6] Clarence Tshitereke (November 2002): "Securing democracy: Party finance and party donations-the South African Challenge" Institute for Security Studies, ISS paper 63.
[7] James Kerr Pollock (1932): Money and Politics Abroad. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
[8] Keith Ewing (2001): "Corruption in party financing: the case for global standards," Global Corruption Report
[9] Reginald Austin and Maja Tjernstöm (Eds) (2003): Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns. Handbook Series, Stockholm: IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).
[10] Shari Bryan and Denise Baer (eds.) (2005): Money in politics: A Study of Party Financing Practices in 22 Countries. Washington: National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
[11] P. Burnell (ed.) (2006): Globalizing Democracy: Party Politics in Emerging Democracies, London and New York: Routledge.
[12] P.Burnell (ed.) (2007): Evaluating Democracy Support: Methods and Experiences, Stockholm: International IDEA/Sida Carothers, T., Confronting the Weakest Link: Aiding Political Parties in New Democracies, Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment.
[13] Thomas Carothers (2004): "Political Party Aid", Paper Prepared for the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
[14] Samuel Fambom (September 2003): "Public funding of political parties in Africa". Paper submitted at the Africa Conference on Election, Democracy and Governance, 7 .10 April 2003, Pretoria, South Africa.
[15] Harald Mathisen and Lars Svasand (2002): Funding political parties in emerging African democracies: Whatrole for Norway? Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute-Development Studies and Human Rights.
[16] Khabele Matlosa and Kenedy Mbaya (2004): "An analysis of the utilization of state/public resources during elections: A comparative survey of experiences in the SADC region." The politics of State resources: Party funding in South Africa. Khabele Matlosa (Ed.). Johannesburg: Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, pp. 11-58.
[17] Michael Pinto-Duschinsky (2002): Financing politics: A Global View, Journal of Democracy, 13 (4), 69-86
[18] TI (Transparency International) (2005): "Political Finance Regulations: Bridging the Enforcement Gap", TI Policy Position, No. 2.
[19] Jeffrey Carlson (n.d): From Discourse to Action: Avoiding Pitfalls in Political Finance Disclosure Initiatives, IFES Political Finance White Paper Series.
[20] Claire M. Smith (2004): Money to Burn: Party Finance and Party Organization in Germany and Austria. Paper Prepared for the Midwest Political Science Association April 17, 2004 - Chicago, IL
[21] Vicki, Robinson and Stefaans Br├╝mmer (November 2006): Corporate fronts and political party funding, SA Democracy Incorporated, ISS Paper 129.
[22] Yaw Saffu (2003): "The Funding of Political Parties and Election and Campaigns in Africa". Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns, IDEA, Hand book Series, Reginald Austin and Maja Tjernstrom (Eds.), pp. 21-29.
[23] Wuhumuza William (1997): "Money and Power in Uganda-s 1996 Elections", African Journal of Political Science 2(1), 168-179.
[24] Sefakor Ashiagbor (2005): Party Finance Reform in Africa: Lessons Learned from Four Countries: Ghana, Kenya, Senegal & South Africa. The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Washington.
[25] Inge Amundsen (2007): Donor Support to Political Parties: Status and Principles, R 2007: 6, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute) Reports.
[26] Mohamed Salih and Per Nordlund (2007): Political Parties in Africa: Challenges for Sustained Multiparty Democracy, Africa Regional Report Based on Research and Dialogue with Political Parties, IDEA.Stockholm.
[27] CDD-Ghana (Ghana Center for Democratic Development) (March 2005): Financing political Parties in Ghana: Policy Guidelines
[28] E.Gyimah-Boadi (March 2000):"Ghana".
[29] Berhanu Nega (1998 EC): Yenetsanet Goh Siked. Likelebes Yetemokerew Ye Ethiopia Democracy (in Amharic) ("The Dawn of Freedom").
[30] Lidetu Ayallew (1998 EC): "Yearem Erisha" ("Weed Farm"), Addis Ababa: Progress Printing Press.
[31] Lovise Aalen (2002): Ethnic Federalism in a Dominant Party State: The Ethiopian Experience 1991-2000. Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute. Development Studies and Human Rights, Bergen.
[32] The Reporter (22 December 2007): "Draft parties- registration law raises controversy".
[33] David Hamilton Shinn and Thomas P. Ofcansky (2004): Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia; Lanham: Rowman and Littelfield Pub Inc.
[34] John Prendergast and Mark Duffield (1998): "Liberation politics in Ethiopia and Eritrea", Civil War in Africa: Roots and Resolution, Taisier M. Ali and Robert O. Matthews (Eds.). Toronto, pp. 35-52.
[35] The Ethiopian Herald (26 July 2005): "Somali state chief calls on public to register for upcoming election. Training offered for election executives," LXI (273).
[36] The Ethiopian Herald (18 August 2005): "Somali elections: ERIS funds candidates- Campaigning," LXI (293).
[37] Ethiomedia (17 September 2007): "Washington DC raises $137,000 to bolster democratic opposition".
[38] The Reporter (26 December 2007): "Yepoletika Partiwoch Mizgeba Rekik Awaj Letekawami Partiwoch Altemechachewem" ("Political Parties Registration Draft Law is not suitable for the opposition").
[39] USAID (2004): Political-Party Finance in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico: Lessons for Latin America. Technical Assistance Module (TAM). Americas Accountability Anti-Corruption Project. Alexandria.
[40] African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, 11 July 2003, Article 10.
[41] Susan E. Scarrow (n.d):” Money, Politics, and the Balance of Power: Comparing Official Stories”, Department of Political Science University of Houston.
[42] Karen Fogg (12 August 2003): “Paying for Parties–Choices for Democrats”, a speech delivered at a public lecture organized by the Center for Democratic Institutions, the National Institute of Social Sciences and Law, and the Senate of the Australian Parliament House.
[43] Horacio Boneo and Bob Dahl (May 2006): “Lessons Learned About Political Finance in Post Conflict Societies,” in: Political Finance in Post-Conflict Societies, Jef Fisher, Marcin Walecki, Jeffrey Carlson (Eds.), USAID and IFES, pp. 5-8.
[44] Maja Tjernström and Anna Katz (2003): “Introduction to the Matrix,” in: Austin, Reginald and Tjernström, Maja (eds): Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns. pp. 180-223.
[45] Uche J. Emelonye (2004): “Political Finance in Nigeria: a Policy Agenda for Reform.” In: Political Finance and Democracy in Nigeria: Prospects and Strategies for Reform.
[46] USAID (US Agency for International Development) (2003): Money in Politics Handbook: A Guide to Increasing Transparency in Emerging Democracies. Technical Publication Series, Washington DC.
[47] Antonio Argandona (January 2002): “Political party funding and Business Corporation,” Research Paper No. 548, IESE, University of Navarra.
[48] Ndubisi Obiorah (Ed) (January 2004): “Preface,” In: Political Finance and Democracy in Nigeria: Prospects and Strategies for Reform. Lagos: Center for Law and Social Action (CLASA).
[49] Carolyn M. Warner (2005): “The corruption of campaign and party finance laws.” Paper prepared for delivery at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington DC, September 1-4, 2005.
[50] Michael Pinto-Duschinsky and Alexander Postnikov (February 1999): Campaign Finance in Foreign Countries: Legal Regulation and Political Practices (A Comparative Legal Survey and Analysis), IFES, Washington D.C.
[51] Michael Johnston (2005): Political Parties and Democracy in Theoretical and Practical Perspectives Political Finance Policy, Parties, and Democratic Development, The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), Washington.
[52] Steven Griner and Daniel Zovatto (Eds) (2005): “From Norms to Good Practices: A Comparative Regional Analysis of the Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns in Latin America”, in: Funding Of Political Parties And Election Campaigns In The Americas, San José: the Organization of American States (OAS) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), pp. 17-86.
[53] L. Le Duc, R.G. Niemi, and P.Norris (Eds.) (1996): Comparing Democracies and Voting in Globlal Perspective. Thousand Oaks: Sage publications.
[54] Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin and Christian Schultz (November 2000): “Public Funding of Political Parties,” Working Paper No. 368, CESifo Working Paper Series. Munich.
[55] Michel Perottino (2005): “The Czech Republic” in: Legislation and Control Mechanisms of Political Parties’ Funding: Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Ukraine. Bucharest. Institute for Public Policies (IPP), pp. 13-50.
[56] Jóhanna Kristín Birnir (2004): Streamlining Party Systems? The different effects of public funding on new and established democracies. Paper prepared for the Midwestern Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, April 14-18 2004.
[57] Michael Pinto-Duschinsky (November 2001): Political Financing in the Commonwealth, The Democracy Unit, Political Affairs Division, Commonwealth Secretariat, Pall Mall.
[58] Lise Rakner and Lars Svàsand (2002): Multi party elections in Africa’s new democracies. Bergen: Chr. Michelsen Institute.
[59] L. Schikonye (2000): “The functioning and funding of political parties (in the SADC region)”, International IDEA Conference-Towards Sustainable Democratic Institutions in Southern Africa.
[60] Hayden Phillips (March 2007): “Strengthening Democracy: Fair and Sustainable Funding of Political Parties,” The Review of the Funding of Political Parties. Norwich
[61] Tesfaye Habisso (23 January 2007): “ETHIOPIA: The Case against State Funding of Political Parties”. (Accessed 23.01.08).
[62] Alejandro Poire (2006): “In the public interest or a poisoned subsidy? Public finding of political parties: Sub-national evidence from Mexico”, Harvard University.
[63] Richard S. Katz and Peter Mair (1995):“Changing Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy: the Emergence of the Cartel Party.” Party Politics. 1(1): 5-28.
[64] Otto Kirchheimer (1966): “The Transformation of the Western European Party Systems.” In: Political Parties and Political Development, (Eds.) Joseph LaPalombara and Myron Weiner. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 179-208.
[65] Robert Williams (2000): “Aspects of Party Finance and Political Corruption”, In: RobertWilliams (Ed), Party Finance and Political Corruption. Houndsmills UK: MacMillan Press.
[66] Karl-Heinz Nassmacher (2003): “Introduction: Political Parties, Funding and Democracy”, Funding of Political Parties and Election Campaigns, Reginald Austin, Maja Tjernström (Eds), Handbook Series, International IDEA, Stockholm.
[67] Matthew Boyd Ashton (December 2006): “The Cartel Theory and the funding of German political parties”, Department of politics and Sociology, Nottingham Trent University.
[68] Alejandro Poire (2006): “In the public interest or a poisoned subsidy? Public finding of political parties: Sub-national evidence from Mexico”, Harvard University.
[69] Ingrid Van Biezen (2004): “Political Parties as Public Utilities”, Party politics 10, no.6, pp. 701-722.
[70] Wondwosen Teshome B. (2008): “International Election Observers in Africa: The Case of Ethiopia,” Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, 7(1), 119-137.
[71] Shumbana Karume (2003): “Summary Paper on Democratic Assistance”, SADC Insight I, pp.1-5.
[72] Julie Hearn (1999): Foreign Aid, Democratization and Civil Society in Africa: A Study of South Africa, Ghana and Uganda: Discussion Paper 368, Institute of Development Studies.
[73] USAID (April 1999): USAID Political Party Development Assistance. Technical Publication Series, Office of Democracy and Governance, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development, Washington.
[74] SIDA (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) (July 2002): The Political Institutions: Parties, Elections and Parliaments. Department for Democracy and Social Development Division for Democratic Governance.
[75] The Reporter (31 August 2008): “Ehadeg bezih amet 167 million birr sebesebe” (“EPRDF Collected 167 Million Birr in this Year”).
[76] Political Parties Registration Proclamation (No. 46/1993).
[77] Negarit Gazetta (24 September 2008): “The Revised Parties Registration Proclamation, Proclamation No. 573/2008, Addis Ababa
[78] Addis Fortune (11 September 2008): “EPRDF’s audit glitch”.
[79] Oromia Speaks, (n.d.):“EPRDF replaces public enterprises with political party businesses,” Vol. 10, Issue 1.
[80] ION (The Indian Ocean Newsletter) (10-01-2009): “Ethiopia: Dignitaries active in business”, No. 1253.
[81] The Reporter (14 December 2008): “Teklay minister Meles cabineachewinina balesiltanochachewn kemusina yatsdu” (“Prime Minister Meles Should Clean His Cabinet and Government Officials from Corruption”).
[82] ERIS (Electoral Reform International Services): “2005 Ethiopian national elections. Joint International Donor Election Support Programme. , (Accessed 14 January 2007).
[83] BBC (3 March 2008): “Key leaders absent in Ethiopia polls”.
[84] Robert Wiren (30 January 2008): “An Interview with Mr. Sekuture Getachew, member of the ruling party EPRDF”, Les Nouvelles D’Addis.
[85] Ethiomedia (17 June 2006): “TPLF spies being sent to US, Europe as refugees, asylum seekers”.
[86] Ethiomedia (18 June 2006): “TPLF-the control freak and Diaspora Ethiopians“.
[87] IRB (Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada) (13 March 2007): “Response to Information Requests”, ETH102458.E.
[88] Wondimu Mekonnen (13 June 2006): “Attack on Ethiopian Diaspora planned”, Ethiomedia. (Accessed 9 November 2008).
[89] Workie Briye (30 August 2006): “Ethiopia: New Circular from the Ministry of Foreign Affiars,” (Accessed 19 December 2008).
[90] Workiye Birye (29 August 2006): “It is harvesting time for TPLF spy ‘diplomats’” (Accessed 12-19-2008).
[91] Ethiopia Zare (21 November 2008): “Kinijit yebejet digoma endilekekilet teyeke” (“CUD Demand the Release of State Funding”).
[92] Ethio Lion (11 November 2008): “UDJ joined the camp of traitors: UDJ is fake opposition“.
[93] The Reporter, “City Cab Drivers Vehemently Criticize Mayor’s Accusation” (Accessed 11-07-05).
[94] Neill Committee on Standards in Public Life (October 1998): Fifth Report, The Funding of Political Parties in the United Kingdom, Para. 4.15.
[95] Russell J. Dalton, Scott C. Flanagan, and Paul Allen Beck (1984): Electoral Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies: Realignment or De-alignment? Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
[96] Herbert E. Alexander and Rei Shiratori (Eds.) (1994): Comparative Political Finance Among the Democracies. Westview Press. Boulder.
[97] Steven D. Roper (2002): “The Influence of Party Finance in Post -Communist Party system Consolidation,” Paper prepared for Delivering at the 2002 Annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 29-September 1, 2002.
[98] Heather Deegan (April 2003): Elections in Africa-The past ten years. An assessment. Briefing paper No. 2. The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
[99] AP (The Associated Press) (31 March 2005): “Ethiopia orders U.S. workers’ expulsion. “
[100] Jeffrey Carlson and Marcin Walecki (May 2006): “Main Determinants of Post-conflict Societies and Implications for Political Finance”, in: Political Finance in Post-Conflict Societies, Jef Fisher, Marcin Walecki, Jeffrey Carlson (Eds.), USAID and IFES, pp. 5-8.
[101] Wondwosen Teshome (2009): “Opposition Parties and the Politics of Opposition in Africa: A Critical Analysis”, in: International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-15.
[102] Wondwosen Teshome B. (2009): “Ethiopian Opposition Political Parties and Rebel Fronts: Past and Present”, International Journal of Social Sciences, vol, 4, no. 1, pp.60-68.