Premier appoints new Cabinet, sets out early Reform Priorities

8 May 2018

It has now been just over three weeks since the swearing-in of Dr. Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. The historic and peaceful transfer of power which ushered in his election followed the resignation of the former Prime Minister, earlier this year, in the face of growing public demand for good governance. Since his election, the first few weeks of the Premier’s tenure have been characterised by a renewed sense of hope and determination in the country. In an effort to address public grievances, maintain the country’s socio-economic gains and guarantee peace and security, the new Prime Minister has engaged in a series of public consultations while setting out the vision for reform going forward.

To accomplish this vision, the new Premier reshuffled his cabinet last week, appointing sixteen new cabinet ministers in the process – six of which were women – and naming the House of People’s Representatives’ first ever female Speaker, Muferait Kemil. In appointing his new cabinet, Dr Abiy explained that the selections were made on the basis of each candidates’ integrity, experience in public service and proven track record of delivery. Addressing Parliament, the Prime Minister said all ministers would be expected to administer their new roles in line with reform priorities and as per two red-line agendas – the fight against corruption and the efficient delivery of public services. Dr Abiy went on to highlight that there would be no compromise on the part of the government in the pursuit of these twin agendas.

Additionally, the Premier spent his first few weeks in office on a number of official visits across the country – traveling the length and breadth of Ethiopia to engage in a series of public consultations with citizens drawn from across society. In the span of less than two weeks, Dr Abiy addressed constituents in Jijiga, Ambo, Mekelle, Addis Ababa, Gondar, Bahir Dar and Hawassa – listening to the public’s grievances and committing his government to resolving them. In these consultative meetings, the Prime Minister exchanged views with ordinary citizens, emphasising the urgent need to nurture the country’s unity in diversity and to jointly find constructive solutions to the various challenges facing the country. In particular, he urged the youth, during an event at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa, to avoid, at all costs, any recourse to violence as a means of giving vent to feelings of anger and frustration.

It was at a meeting with business people and entrepreneurs from the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce that the Prime Minister addressed the state of the nation’s economy, and particularly, the foreign currency crunch afflicting it. In his explanation to the gathering, he invited the private sector to closely collaborate with government in its efforts to eliminate illicit financial flows, curb black market exchanges and recover foreign currency held abroad. Furthermore, he vowed that the Government, on its part, would do everything in its power to address concerns raised by businesses related to red-tape, excessive bureaucracy and unethical practices within the public sector. He concluded by acknowledging that, as is common in many rapidly developing states, the foreign currency crunch would persist in the medium-term due to the ongoing need to deliver on value-adding capital-intensive infrastructure projects.

Amongst other engagements, Dr Abiy also hosted a dinner reception at the Jubilee Palace for leaders of opposition parties, religious leaders and members of civil society. The Premier’s discussions with these groups focused on the government’s continuing efforts to enhance democracy in Ethiopia by opening up the political space and encouraging political participation across society.

The first few weeks of the Prime Minister’s tenure have been illustrative of the Government’s ongoing determination to deliver reform while sustaining the socio-economic gains of the past decade. With news this week from the World Bank confirming that Ethiopia will, yet again, be the fastest-growing economy in Africa this year, the outlook looks bright. As put by the Premier in his address to young people at Millennium Hall, “if we work as one – displaying unity in confronting our shared challenges – I can guarantee that tomorrow will be a better day than today!”

On 19th April, the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) approved the appointment of members of the Council of Ministers nominated by Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed.

The following ministers were appointed, including 10 new cabinet members, while 6 others were reshuffled from other ministerial positions. Others remained in their previous positions.

  • Melaku Alebel – Minister of Trade
  • Dr Amir Aman – Minister of Health
  • Siraj Fegessa – Minister of Transport
  • Motuma Mekassa – Minister of Defense
  • Dr Ambachew Mekonnen – Minister of Industry
  • Fozia Amin – Minister of Culture and Tourism
  • Melese Alemu – Minister of Mines and Energy
  • Berhanu Tsegaye – Attorney General
  • Shiferaw Shigute – Minister of Agriculture and Livestock
  • Teshome Toga – Minister of Public Enterprises
  • Yalem Tsegaye – Minister of Women and Children
  • Ahmed Shide – Minister of Government Communications Affairs Office
  • Dr Hirut Woldemariam – Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
  • Uba Mohammed – Minister of Communications and Information Technology
  • Jantrar Abay – Minister of Urban Development and Housing
  • Umer Hussen – Director General of Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority

A full list of all cabinet ministers can be found on our website www.ethioembassy.org.uk/politicalaffairs

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