PM Abiy’s memorable visit to Europe
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Dr Abiy Ahmed, paid an eventful two-day working visit to Europe taking in France and Germany from 30th – 31st October.
Back in July, no sooner had the Prime Minister announced Ethiopia’s readiness to implement the Algiers’s Agreement and make peace with Eritrea, than French President Emmanuel Macron called and congratulated Prime Minister Abiy for becoming the harbinger of rapprochement in the region (and had even invited the PM to be the guest of honour at this year’s Bastille Day celebrations.)
Three months later, it was all smiles then as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived at the Elysee Palace on 30th October to be warmly greeted by President Macron. After talks, the two leaders gave a press conference during which the President, not only heaped praise on PM Abiy for striking the much yearned for peace deal with Eritrea, but for broadening the democratic space and for the incredible speed with which he has ushered in multifarious reforms.
On his part, Prime Minister Abiy commended the century-old Franco-Ethiopia relations, which have stood the test of time, and thanked President Macron for French assistance to restore the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, and for its financial assistance to enhance Ethiopia’s development efforts.
The Prime Minister’s next stop, Berlin, was the venue for a meeting of the G20, where Germany, as part of the “Compact with Africa”, pledged $1billion towards efforts undertaken to attract FDI into Africa through the promotion of private sector investment into the continent. In his address to the audience, which included many African Heads of
However, it was the rally of 15,000 Ethiopians from across Europe, at the Commerz Bank Arena in Frankfurt on 31st October, which turned out to be the ‘wow’ moment of the Prime Minister’s tour of the continent. In a one-hour speech to cheering members of the Ethiopian diaspora who had braved Frankfurt’s bitter cold, he urged them “to rise as one to build a better tomorrow for Ethiopia”. The Prime Minister went on to assert the imperative of meeting this future with hope and unity, putting the interests of Ethiopians at the centre of our collective actions.State and Government, the Prime Minister reiterated his administration’s unwavering commitment to turn Ethiopia into an investment magnet by undertaking a thorough review of the country’s economic policies and business environment.
The carnival atmosphere at the Arena turned rapturous when PM Abiy affirmed that “this generation of Ethiopians can and will, without any doubt, return Ethiopia, one of the world’s great nations, to its rightful place! So long as we work together, focus on the big picture and commit to overcoming our challenges together – we will succeed!” During the subsequent Q&A session, Diaspora representatives from communities across Europe posed questions to the Prime Minister on his Government’s plans for durable peace in Ethiopia, national unity and reconciliation and on democratisation and the Constitution. The Prime Minister provided answers to these questions while also pledging to visit the United Kingdom in the near future.
All in all, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s 48-hour whistle stop visit to two European countries was as eventful as it was memorable.
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