Although inherited and chosen layers of identity will be as "authentic" as conventional categories of citizenship and nationality, one category possibly will continue to stand out. Islam will remain a robust identity. Sectarian and other differences within Islam will be a source of tension or worse. The challenge of Islamic activism could produce a more intense backlash of Christian activism. Nigeria, Ethiopia, and other places in Africa will remain battlegrounds in this sectarian struggle.Well, we are 15 years away from 2025, but Nigeria is already in the midst of a sectarian struggle since 1999 when Sharia was imposed in 12 northern states. There have been some instances of sectarian violence in Ethiopia since 2006 but, thankfully, none on a scale witnessed in Nigeria. Is it possible that Ethiopia can experience a large scale sectarian violence like Nigeria? Sure, it is possible.
What was intriguing to me about the NIC quote was that one of its authors, Johnnie Carson, would later become the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, a position that is largely responsible for most of the US policy towards sub-Saharan Africa. Ambassador Carson was the main Africa expert at NIC at the time the report was published.
I am inclined to think that this quote gives a clue as to how the US policy towards Ethiopia might evolve in the Obama Administration under Carson's guidance. The clue, I think, is this: the Obama Administration could conclude that the causes of the main political problems in Ethiopia are ethnic and sectarian related and, therefore, may determine that the US foregn policy making apparatus should not be used in sorting out "internal" issues.
If this comes to fruition, then I think that the Obama Administration will have made a serious error in judgment and would leave Ethiopian human rights and democracy advocates out in the cold just like its predecessors did.
Here below is Ambassador Carson being interviewed by VOA's Tizita Belachew in the Spring shortly after talking office. His lackluster answer to Tizita's pointed question about a revision of American policy towards Ethiopia is telling.