Press briefing on the current issues in Ethiopia

28 Sep 2020

On 24th September, PM Office spokesperson Billene Seyoum and Attorney General Dr Gedion Timothewos resumed press briefings to English-speaking journalists – international and local – at the government’s new media studio in Addis Ababa.

Billene began with a “New Year broad overview” listing the successes of the past year including the  widening of the political space.

PM Abiy’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize was a recognition of what Ethiopia, but also what Africa, can offer the world. She then listed other key achievements which included Ethiopia’s first satellite into space; the first filling of the GERD, “proving that Ethiopians can come together to successfully meet the goals they have set.” Ethiopia’s Green Legacy has met targets set for the year, which had also seen the initiation and completion of the Sheger and Unity Parks.

Illicit financial flows, illegal transfer of weapons and human trafficking were brought to light and weapons seized – a result of good coordination between regional and federal authorities, who brought the perpetrators to book.

Ease of doing business has been improved with an online portal and the tax system has been modernised with Addis Ababans now able to pay their tax online. Agricultural productivity increased and economic growth was encouraging with 3.3 million jobs created particularly in agriculture and the service sectors.

Large-scale government projects including enterprise development and sectoral financing support, and the extension of the private sector, had contributed enormously.

Citizen-centred diplomacy has continued to support the repatriation of citizens from around the world who wished to return to Ethiopia.

Concerning COVID, Billene said Ethiopia had championed collective leadership across the continent and had set up 54 laboratories across the country, which soon generated testing results within 24 hours, down from the original 7 days.”

Rule of Law

The new Attorney General Dr Gedion Timothewos then spoke on the peace and security situation. Compared to the previous year there is now stability in the majority of the country as action is being taken by both the federal and regional governments, with support from local communities, who are at the centre of policing, and from the Ministry of Peace. Further threats and terrorist activities have been thwarted, but these cases “don’t make it into the news,” Dr Gedion said.

The rule of law has been strengthened through law enforcement efforts. New judges have been appointed so there will be less burden on the judiciary. The government is committed to the reforms that have begun, despite speculation to the contrary – it is “a multi-dimensional journey”. Reforms are deep and entrenched attitudes mean it will take time especially in the democratisation sector.

Politicians are not charged because of their political activities but because of their engagement in violence and “the upcoming election will be free and fair and the ongoing trials will not impact the election, which is run on a party basis – not just on personalities.”

Watch the full press briefing at: http://bit.ly/Sept24PressBriefing.

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