There is no shadow of doubt about the influence of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the first Oromo leader, who assumed office on April 2, 2018, following the unexpected resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn.
The ‘astute politician’ quickly changed the pace for his nation that has taken a positive shift under his stewardship aiming to restore its former glory politically and economically.
Within eight months of being at the helm, the reformist has achieved what many termed as “unthinkable” dreams. He ended the vendetta between Ethiopia and Eritrea which saw Ethiopia’s national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines resume its operations to Asmara after 20 years of dispute. The most decorated African airline re-started its flights on July 17.
On October, Prime Minister Abiy appointed half of the ministerial posts to women, seeking gender parity and better governance. The role of women in departments and sectors cannot go unnoticed as they also seek to contribute to the general welfare of the society and economy. The country elected Ethiopian diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde as the nation’s first female president succeeding Mulatu Teshome.
Economically, Dr Abiy has opened the borders of Ethiopia for foreign companies to invest. State-owned Ethiopian Airlines and state-run telecoms were open for potential investments for private and international businesses as an economic reform to drive rapid growth. The strategy has paved the way with German, Turkish, Indian and Chinese investors interested to trade in Africa’s fastest growing economy.
The PM has made significant strides in building up Ethiopia holistically, giving him a slot in New African magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential Africans of 2018. Six other Ethiopians, including Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam, CEO of Ethio-Telecom Frehiwot Tamiru as well as Founder and Executive Director of Sole Rebels, Bethlehem Tilahun, made it to the entries.
However, Nigerians continue to dominate with 18 entries, a decrease of 3 with Ethiopia having 7. Dr Abiy featured in one of the four cover pages with Egypt’s and Liverpool forward Mo Salah, who won the FIFA Puskas Award 2018 also featuring.