As a young boy I dreamt of visiting Ethiopia because I thought they had the most beautiful women in the world. I remember thinking to myself that I would marry an Ethiopian woman if I ever found myself in the streets of Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa or Gondar.
Over a decade later and my admiration for this inspiring African nation has surged, more so over the last seven months since Abiy Ahmed assumed office as the 15th Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He has led remarkable political, economic and foreign policy reforms that have put the country far ahead of other larger economies in the continent.
Within the last 3-weeks alone, the country has recorded landmark achievements with regards to gender equality in leadership and politics in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Abiy in October reshuffled his cabinet that saw women occupying half the positions, and only a week after that, Ethiopia’s parliament elected and appointed the country’s first female president in modern history. A week after that, Ethiopia swore in its first ever female supreme court chief justice.
Of course, high expectations accompanied Ahmed’s premiership, especially as it has been described as the first peaceful and successful political transition in the East African country. Abiy Ahmed who holds a Master of Arts in Transformational Leadership and Change, got to fixing things right off the bat. He began by resolving issues with its neighbouring country, Eritrea, and signed a declaration that ended 20 years of hostility and restored diplomatic relations and normal ties between both countries.
On the home front as well, Abiy has emphasized his message of peace and progress by also signing a peace deal with the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels from the nation’s Somali region, whom it has previously outlawed as “terrorist group”.
A lot is sure to be achieved on the bedrock of political stability, gender equality, economic growth and visionary leadership, all of which Ethiopia so evidently portrays. This exemplary leadership is visible for other African nations to emulate and in turn reap the rewards that follow. As far as Ethiopia is concerned, it is definitely the shining star rising in the east.
Despite the many challenges facing this promising country, there is evident progress with infrastructural development, economic growth, advancement in science and technology and agriculture. Stories like that of Betelhem Dessie, the 19-year-old female tech genius leading a coding team at Ethiopia’s first AI lab, is but one of many inspiring stories that assures of the nation’s commitment to delivering a better reality and future for the country.