The Miracle Worker of Africa – Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed
By Judy Sanderman, Founder/Board Member
It is a time of hope and possibility in Ethiopia. Much of this is due to the appointment this past April of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. In just a few short months, Dr. Abiy has put in place key reforms that are leading Ethiopia down a path of peace and freedom of expression.
Women in Leadership: Woman now have a significant role in governance. His latest miracles: Dr. Abiy’s cabinet consists of 10 women and 10 men. He named a woman Minister of Peace who is in charge of intelligence, the military and security and will work for peace during this time of reform. He appointed a woman as President of Ethiopia and a woman as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. “Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can’t lead,” said Abiy.
Peace with Eritrea: Dr. Abiy acted boldly and went to Eritrea, Ethiopia’s main opponent, and made peace after 20 years. He did so by not just calling for peace, but by also offering to implement the UN peace agreement without preconditions.
Freedom of Expression: The internet blackout has ended. Opposition groups and international radio are allowed to broadcast on the radio without interference. Dr. Abiy has let political prisoners and journalists out of jail and invited exiles to return to Ethiopia.
And the world is responding to the reforms as well. For example, Ethiopia was recently approved to receive $1.2 billion from the World Bank; it’s first support package from the World Bank since 2005. The funding will be used to accelerate economic growth and improve efficiency. In yet another act of transparency, Dr. Abiy announced the World Bank funding in a press conference where local and international media outlets were invited to attend.
It is particularly exciting and hopeful to consider these changes through the eyes of the young people Project Ethiopia supports to attend universities around the country. They will enter a changed and reformed world that will hopefully offer all of them, and especially the young women, more opportunities for significant jobs and leadership opportunities in peaceful times.