Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, will clock one year in office on the 2nd of April, 2019.
At just 42-years-old, the ever-smiling prime minister sits on the helm of affairs of one of Africa’s greatest countries and chairs both the ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP).
Prior to his inauguration, critics had doubted his capability to steer a country like Ethiopia and stabilize the EPRDF, which consists of four political parties, namely Tigray People's Liberation Front, Amhara Democratic Party, Oromo Democratic Party, and Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement.
There is no doubt that he has surprised the world.
The “RD” in EPRDF which stands for Revolutionary and Democracy is no doubt the blueprint of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in the last twelve months of ruling Ethiopia.
During his time, he has done a lot in reforming the country and re-defining governance. This has also been reflected in the entire region as he has been dubbed ‘the unifier’ and ‘transformer’.
Even his opponents will admit that he has done well since coming into office.
Below are a few of Abiy’s achievements in less than one year since becoming prime minister of Ethiopia.
1. Signing peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea
True to his word, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed a peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea in July, putting to an end two decades of bitter relations. He promised to withdraw Ethiopian forces from the borders and end the killings. In December, barely five months after the peace deal was signed, Ethiopia concluded all arrangements and withdrew its troops from the Ethiopian-Eritrean boarders.
2. Adopted the Visa on arrival policy for Africans across the continent
In line with the African Union’s decision to improve Regional Integration in the continent and while other Africa leaders were still dragging their feet one step forward and two steps back, Ethiopia adopted the Visa on Arrival policy for Africans across the continent.
3. Re-positioned Ethiopian Airlines
He re-positioned Ethiopian Airlines, making the current best airline and one of the biggest Pan-African brands in Africa.
4. Made peace with Somalia
He reconciled his country with Somalia after 41 years and flights to the neighboring country resumed after four decades.
5. Reduced the cabinet size of the country, with more women added
In what was the first in Africa, he reduced his cabinet members to just 20 and surprised the world when he released the list to reveal that ten out of the twenty ministers were women.
6. Ethiopia got its first female president
Ethiopia currently has the only female president in Africa after the Prime Minister appointed Mrs. Sahle Work-Zewde for the position of president in October. It was swiftly passed by the parliament.
7. Ahmed is on a monthly salary of $300
During a speech in October, the Prime Minister again shocked the world when he revealed that he was on a monthly salary of $300. African leaders hid their heads in shame when they saw this because some of them earn as much as $591,871.68 annually as their official salary.
8. Lifted the ban on political exiles
He promised to reach out to opposition both home and abroad, and this he did. In November, he lifted the ban on Berhanu Nega - who had been exiled for many years because of his critical views of the former regime. Nega finally returned to Ethiopia, a signal of Abiy Ahmed's sweeping democratic reforms.
9. Peacemaker in the Horn of Africa
He made himself an emissary in the Horn of Africa and has successfully united the region. The United Nations arms embargo and sanctions on Eritrea was lifted after Abiy Ahmed organized reconciliation between the country and its neighbors with which it was in conflict.
10. Leading a fast-growing economy
Ethiopia was rated as one of the fastest growing economies in 2018.
Header Image Credit: Flickr