Several Ogaden Somali officials of the SPDP party accused the Ethiopian government of favoring the Oromia region over their Somali region for development projects and investments. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals and denounced the “unfair” federal budget distribution between states of Ethiopia.
A Somali delegation recently visited Bishoftu and other Oromia towns to exchange views and discuss regional economic cooperation. The Jigjiga delegation visited an underground tunnel for a subway train under construction and the half-billion dollar six lane Addis-Adama expressway in Oromia, the first tolled expressway in East Africa. According to one Somali Peoples Democratic Party (SPDP) official, “going to Oromia felt like visiting a different country.” He said Oromia is becoming the most advanced state in Ethiopia due to it receiving the highest federal subsidy.
Observers say there is a growing animosity between the SPDP and the Oromo OPDO party since SPDP’s application to join the EPRDF ruling party coalition was rejected.
The imbalanced development has also created more animosity between the two regional states. Oromia is reportedly experiencing “industrial revolution” with several new industrial zones created to tackle the widespread unemployment and overdependence on agriculture. Meanwhile, the new Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) has been praised internationally for empowering southern and Oromo farmers. According to IMF, the housing boom in Oromia’s “Addis Ababa-Adama Metropolitan Area” is said to be the largest construction boom in Africa.
However, the Somali region remains underdeveloped and unstable. Many somalis have complained about mismanagement of public resources, sectarian clan politics and widespread corruption in the Ogaden-Somali region of Ethiopia.