State-building and development are mutually reinforcing phenomena. The sustainability of development depends on the stability of state's political-structural foundation and the prospect of peace, which is influenced by the origin and evolution of the state. Every regime in Ethiopia has portrayed its advent as a new dawn for the country's development. In recent history, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) introduced a “developmental state” model and registered notable economic growth on aggregate but failed on accounts of equitable distribution. The EPRDF regime used the “developmental state” model to enhance the centralization of state power and circumvent regional autonomy. In 2018, the Prosperity Party (PP) introduced a “prosperity” model. From the EPRDF to the PP, there are signals of a radical shift of approach in state-building and development. This article analyzes the premises and promises of the multinational federation and “developmental state” model under the EPRDF regime, and the unitarist orientation and “prosperity” paradigm under the PP. I argue that the radical shift of direction from the multinational federalism towards a unitary state is unrealistic and fundamentally shatters the prospect of development.

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