The lowland Ethiopian regions of Gambella and Benishangul, bordering
Sudan, form a classic frontier zone. ‘Modern’ politics dates from the 1974
Ethiopian revolution, and has been shaped by developments on either side
of the frontier, as well as by the complex relations among indigenous peoples,
and between them and immigrants and officials from highland areas of Ethiopia.
The implementation of the post-1991 Ethiopian government's programme of ethnic
regionalism has intensified local rivalries, and regional governments remain weak,
being highly dependent on professionals from highland Ethiopia. Education,
transport links, and other indicators of development remain poor. None the less,
local political power, in sharp contrast to
earlier periods, has to an appreciable extent passed into the hands of indigenous leaders.