Previously a centralized unitary state, Ethiopia, a country located in the Horn of Africa region, has undergone a decentralization process in two phases over the past thirty years. The first phase of decentralization, which began in 1991, culminated when the country became a federal state following the promulgation of the 1995 constitution. The second phase of decentralization, implemented in the early 2000s, started the process of gradually devolving the responsibility for frontline services from the regional states to the local government level. Ethiopia now has a federal system with a federal government and 11 regional states and two federal cities. State constitutions generally provide for a three-tier local governance structure below the regional states. In practice, however, the powers and functions of regional state governments and local governance institutions continue to be substantially intertwined.

Subnational government structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessment

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Ethiopia 2023 (PDF / Excel)

Additional resources

Ethiopia Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Local Government in Ethiopia: Design Problems and Their Implications (Zemelak Ayele, 2022)

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Last update: December 29, 2023