Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed Fills Half Of Cabinet With Women

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

 

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday unveiled a downsized cabinet where, in a first, half the members are women, a top official said.

Women occupy key positions in the 20-member cabinet that includes a newly created Ministry of Peace to oversee the federal police and intelligence agencies, Abiy’s Chief of Staff Fitsum Arega said.

“Women are assigned to run key ministerial portfolios including ministries of Peace, Trade and Industry, and Defence,” he tweeted.

The new Minister of National Defence, Aisha Mohammed, is the first woman to hold the post. Minister of Peace Muferiat Kamil is the former speaker of parliament.

The previous cabinet had 28 ministers, of which only five were women.

The shakeup is the latest in a series of dramatic reforms implemented by Abiy since he took office in April after more than two years of anti-government unrest that contributed to his predecessor’s sudden resignation.

The prime minister’s measures have included ending two decades of conflict with neighboring Eritrea, releasing jailed dissidents, welcoming formerly banned groups back into the country and announcing plans to privatize major state-owned industries.

Abiy, 42, took office after anti-government protests began in late 2015 by Ethiopia’s two largest ethnic groups against the heavy-handed rule of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which controls every seat in parliament together with its allies.

But since taking power, his government has been rocked by successive ethnic clashes in the countryside including violence in southern Ethiopia that has displaced nearly one million people.

AFP

Unrest In Ethiopia Delays Aid To Malnourished Children – U.N.

united nations, Nigeria's economyPolitical violence in Ethiopia has delayed the distribution of aid to four million people hit by drought and floods, including malnourished children, the United Nations said on Monday.

Anti-government protests over disputed provincial boundaries and allegations of human rights violations have riven Ethiopia’s north-central Amhara province and central Oromiya province over the past three months.

“The ongoing situation in Oromiya and Amhara has slowed down dispatches and distributions of targeted supplementary feeding commodities from the Government’s main warehouse in Nazareth, Oromiya,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest update.

“The situation also affects dispatches and distributions in Afar, as a large proportion of the commodities allocated to the region are dispatched from the WFP (World Food Programme) warehouse in Kombolcha, Amhara.”

Children under five and pregnant and nursing women with moderate acute malnutrition receive specialised nutritious foods for about six months, or until they return to health.

Those with life-threatening severe acute malnutrition were not affected, the U.N. said, as there were sufficient stocks in health posts.

Ethiopia was hit in 2015 by one of the worst droughts in decades, with 10 million requiring emergency aid, which ended when the spring rains arrived in March.

The rains have brought flooding, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people while others fled their homes due to communal conflict in Oromiya and Somali regions.

In June, Human Rights Watch said security forces killed at least 400 people in Oromiya protesting at government plans to allocate land surrounding the regional capital for development.

U.N. Expecting To Feed 6.5 Million Ethiopians This Year

The logo of the United Nations is seen on the outside of their headquarters in New YorkThe World Food Programme will help to feed nearly 6.5 million Ethiopians in 2014, the U.N. agency said on Tuesday, with the country hit by locusts, neighboring war and sparse rainfall.

“We are concerned because there is the beginning of a locust invasion in the eastern part of the country, and if it’s not properly handled it could be of concern for the pastoralist population living there,” WFP Spokeswoman, Elizabeth Byrs, told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

“And in the northern part of Ethiopia there has been less rain than average for the third or fourth consecutive year.”

Ethiopia is also dealing with growing refugee numbers due to the conflict in neighboring South Sudan, sapping WFP’s budget for feeding new arrivals in the country, which is at risk of a shortfall as soon as next month.

More than 120,000 South Sudanese have crossed over into Ethiopia in the past six months, mostly women and children who are arriving “famished, exhausted and malnourished”, WFP said in a statement.

The recent influx has brought total refugee numbers to 500,000 in Ethiopia. The U.N. also provides food for millions of needy or undernourished Ethiopians, including 670,000 school children and 375,000 in HIV/AIDS programs.

Ethiopia’s overall situation has vastly improved over recent years and the economy now ranks as one of the fastest growing in Africa. But deep problems remain.

Malnutrition has stunted the growth of 2 out of every 5 Ethiopian children and reduced the country’s workforce by 8 percent, WFP said, citing Ethiopian government data.

The International Monetary Fund expects Ethiopia’s economy to grow 7.5 percent in each of the next two fiscal years but says the government needs to encourage more private sector investment to prevent growth rates from falling thereafter.