New Year, New Hopes and Renewed commitments

30 Sep 2019

Just days ahead of the Ethiopian New Year, the annual meeting of ambassadors, heads of missions and senior officials was held in Addis Ababa from 2nd – 7th September under the theme: “Institutional Reform for Diplomatic Excellence”.

The meeting offered the ambassadors an opportunity to take stock of the annual performance of the ministry. As Foreign Minister Gedu Andargachew rightly noted, the previous year focussed on promoting peace and security and advancing economic integration in the Horn of Africa region. The Minister added that the diplomatic success on such a score had enabled Ethiopia to build trust and establish solid cooperation with neighbouring countries.

Apart from the successful diplomatic efforts in the Horn of Africa region, our country also managed to further strengthen its strategic partnership with other countries. On multilateral platforms too, Ethiopia was able to deepen its continued commitment and partnership.

The country embarked on economic liberalisation measures which gave impetus to the ministry as it continues to facilitate the flow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), looks for additional sources of development funds and boosts job creation. In connection with this, Ethiopia was one of the founding members of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). All these steps certainly play a significant role in enhancing the country’s economy.

Following the sweeping reforms spearheaded by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Ministry is offered tremendous opportunities to work with the Diaspora so they can contribute their share to the country’s development endeavours. To such end, a Diaspora Agency was set up, which is overseen by the ministry. Indeed, citizens diplomacy is at the heart of Ethiopia’s diaspora policy. Our Prime Minister has made it clear that the safety and wellbeing of our citizens come front and centre. In fact, whenever the Prime Minister goes on a working visit to other countries, the first item on his agenda is to reach out to Ethiopian nationals who have previously suffered as a result of a lack of legal and travel documents. He thereby facilitates their safe repatriation to Ethiopia. This past year alone, over 30,000 Ethiopian nationals have been repatriated.

At the backdrop of all this year’s diplomatic achievements, there has been a critical need to renew commitments and do much better in the new year. It is time for ambassadors to work with increased determination and longstanding wisdom so they will be up to the challenge of positioning Ethiopia at a higher level.

This year, Ethiopia is set to hold the 2020 national election. This election comes in the wake of a series of political reforms, including the widening of the political space, ensuring rule of law and media freedom, enhancing democratization and the protection of human rights. Accordingly, the 2020 national election will be free and fair – unique in the history of Ethiopia and perhaps exemplary to the continent.

At the conclusion of the annual meeting, the ambassadors met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The Premier briefed the ambassadors on regional and global issues and highlighted Ethiopia’s strategic directions and its positions on the same. The Prime Minister stressed the need to ensure peace and security in the country, enhancing development and economic progress, and expediting the process of implementing privatisation schemes as well as advancing democratisation. While noting the diplomatic achievements over the previous year, Dr. Abiy called on ambassadors to aim big and do more in the New Year.

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