Government overhaul in Ethiopia sees women occupying half the cabinet posts

Ethiopia's newly appointed ministers take their oath of office on Tuesday at the parliament in the capital Addis Ababa. (Stringer/AFP/Getty Images)

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named Ahmed Shide his finance minister in sweeping changes to the nation’s government that included appointing women to half of cabinet posts.

Abiy appointed Aisha Mohammed as defense minister and created the Ministry of Peace that will be headed by Mufuriat Kami, making them two of 10 women in his cabinet. Others include Adanech Abeebe to head the Ministry of Revenue and former deputy mayor of the capital, Dagmawit Moges, as transport minister. Lawmakers approved the appointments that also reduced government ministries to 20 from 28.

“This is to show respect to the women for all the contribution they have made to the country,” Abiy told lawmakers in the capital, Addis Ababa. “The new cabinet is expected to reform their respective ministries, remove the walls of bureaucracy, bring innovation and technology to provide services efficiently.”

In Africa, only Rwanda has made similar strides in creating an inclusive government.

Abiy has enacted far-reaching political and economic reforms since coming to power in the continent’s second-most populous nation in April. He’s pledged to open up the telecommunications, shipping, power and aviation industries, moved to reduce the role of the military and made a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a long-time foe.

Reducing the number of ministries “is a move we would only expect from a confident administration,” Jared Jeffery, an analyst at Paarl, South Africa-based NKC African Economics, said in an emailed response to questions. “The fact that the prime minister and EPRDF are able to do this is a sign of unity,” he said, referring to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front.

Shide previously served as Ethiopia’s information minister, while Mohammed was formerly construction minister. Workneh Gebeyehu was retained as foreign affairs minister.

SOURCE: Daily Maverick


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