Ethnic federalism also Known as multi-ethnic federalism, Federalism, multi-national federalism., is an ethnic based federal system of national government in which the federated regional or state units are defined by ethnicity. This type of federation is identified above have been implemented by Wedi Zenawi from the 1990s in Ethiopia, where it has sometimes been known as Zenawism. Meles Zenawi and his government adopted ethnic federalism with the aim of establishing the equality of all ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Features of ethnic federalism have been displayed also in other countries, including Nepal, Pakistan, South Sudan, Yugoslavia, and Apartheid-era South Africa (see Bantustans).
Ethnic federal systems have been created in attempts to accommodate demands for ethnic autonomy and manage inter-ethnic tensions within a state. They have not always succeeded in this: problems inherent in the construction and maintenance of an ethnic federation have led to some states or sub-divisions of a state to either breaking up, resorting to authoritarian repression, or resorting to ethnocracy, ethnic segregation, population transfer, and/or internal displacement.