Since becoming Prime Minister of Ethiopia on April 2, 2018, Dr. Abiy Ahmed has made monumental reforms to the country in only his first year in office. Before he became Prime Minister, Ethiopia was on the brink of turmoil, as there had been a state of emergency declared, and there were constant massive protests by the Oromo ethnic group. Millions of people had been displaced due to the turmoil, and the internet was often blocked to try and quell the unrest, cripple the protesters’ ability to mobilize, and slowdown access and sharing of information.
Within a few months, Dr. Abiy lifted the state of emergency, many prisoners and journalists were released, websites were unblocked, TV channels allowed to broadcast, and the administration pushed to shape the country as a place for diaspora from all over the world to invest and return to.
He also ended a twenty-year stint of hostility and rivalry between neighboring country, Eritrea. As a result, the borders were reopened and family members in both countries were able to visit each other for the first time in two decades.
Under Dr. Abiy’s leadership, Ethiopia has set the tone for gender equality by appointing women to half of the Cabinet positions, with women leading the ministry of defense and the ministry of peace, which oversees the intelligence and security forces.
Even though there are still issues that remain to be resolved, Dr. Abiy’s track record during his first year in office shows that with good leadership, lasting peace, justice, equality, and freedom are reachable goals for Ethiopia.
-by AFJN Itern, Maranata Zemede and Edited by Ntama Bahati, Policy Analyst