Reform

New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed makes his cabinet 50% women

Ethiopian Prime minister Abiy Ahmed. (MICHAEL TEWELDE/AFP/Getty Images)

New Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has released the names of his cabinet members, revealing that half of his government’s ministerial posts will now be run by women. Speaking about his new cabinet before Parliament, Abiy declared that women are “less corrupt than men” and having more women in power would help improve stability and sustain the government’s goals of peace and reformation. Among the new appointees were Aisha Mohammad, who became the country’s first female defense minister, and Muferiat Kamil, the former speaker of Parliament, who will now oversee the country’s intelligence services and federal police as minister of peace, a newly created position.

“The main problem in this country is the lack of peace. This [peace] ministry will be working hard to ensure it prevails,” Abiy said.

Abiy, 42, was named prime minister in April after the former PM Hailemariam Desalegn resigned following three years of protests from ethnic Ormos, the country’s largest demographic, who said they had been marginalized politically and economically. Over the past year, an estimated 1.4 million people had been displaced by violence, most of which was attributed to feuds between different ethnic groups. Abiy, who is the first ever Oromo to be named prime minister, called on the country to “heal our wounds … and work together” upon his assumption of office. He has since ended the country’s two-decade long conflict with Eritrea, released thousands of political prisoners, and relaxed the government’s control on certain aspects of the economy.

Abiy’s gender-equal cabinet stands in stark contrast to the cabinet recently introduced by Shinzo Abe, who won re-election as Japan’s prime minister. Abe introduced his 19-member cabinet, which included just one woman — Satsuki Katayama — whom he said has the “presence of two or three women.”

Watch video coverage of the story below.

Read the full story at BBC News and The Guardian.

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