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United Nations congratulates Ethiopia first
female President Sahle-Work Zewde

UNITED NATIONS (Xinhua) -- The United Nations on Thursday congratulated Sahle-Work Zewde, a UN undersecretary-general, on her election as the first female president of Ethiopia.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a phone call on Wednesday from Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who informed him of the news, said Farhan Haq, Guerres’ deputy spokesman.
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"The secretary-general congratulated the government and people of Ethiopia on that choice," Haq told reporters on Thursday.

"We know her and her work very well," he said, referring to the fact that Sahle-Work currently serves as Guterres’ special representative to the African Union and head of the UN Office to the African Union.

The president of the UN General Assembly, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, also congratulated Sahle-Work. Espinosa wished success to Sahle-Work, who sets an example for women in Africa and beyond, said Monica Grayley, Espinosa’s spokeswoman, on Thursday.

"Women do make a difference in politics," said Espinosa, who took pride of the fact that a former UN official has become Ethiopia’s first female president.

Bolivian ambassador to the United Nations Sacha Llorenti, who was presiding over a Security Council meeting as president of the council for the month of October, broke protocol to congratulate Sahle-Work.

At the beginning of a high-level debate on women, peace and security, Llorenti said:

"Allow me, please, to break protocol. We all woke up this morning with very good news: today the first woman president was elected in Ethiopia—Madame Sahle-Work Zewde.

"I think it’s a very good (thing) to start this important debate," said Llorenti to applause in the chamber.

 

Ethiopia first female President Sahle-Work Zewde and former UN undersecretary-general | Coastweek

UNITED NATIONS -- Ethiopia's first female President and former UN undersecretary-general Sahle-Work Zewde.
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Sahle-Work has been approved by Ethiopia’s parliament as president after the resignation of President Mulatu Teshome.

The appointment of a female president has significant symbolic meaning although the position of president is ceremonial in Ethiopia.

Sahle-Work is an experienced diplomat. She was head of the UN Office at Nairobi before her current job at the United Nations.

Before that she was the special representative and head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic and Ethiopia’s ambassador to the African Union and the UN Economic Commission for Africa, as well as director-general for African affairs in the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia.

Educated in France, she also served as the Ethiopian ambassador to France and to the Paris-based United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Sahle-Work had also served as ambassador to Djibouti and Senegal.
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EARLIER REPORTS:

Ethiopia President Sahle-Work Zewde stresses unity and sustained reform

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The newly appointed Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde on Thursday stressed unity among Ethiopians and the need to sustain the ongoing reform in the country.

Zewde, who was elected as the east African country’s first female president following the official resignation of the former President Mulatu Teshome on Thursday, addressed the parliament’s two houses - the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and the Ethiopian House of Federation, the lower and upper houses respectively.

Zewde, in her acceptance speech before the two houses, vowed to serve her country and its people with her utmost efforts.

She also stressed the need to maintain the longstanding unity among Ethiopians as well as sustain the ongoing reform of the Ethiopian government and the governance structure.

"The ongoing reform process, which embraces equal representation of women as well as people from different ethnic groups, will lead us to realize a prosperous, developed and united Ethiopia in the near future," she said.

Zewde, who is a well-regarded diplomat representing Ethiopia at global, continental and regional organizations including the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, had also served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to various countries.

Zewde had also served as Ethiopia’s envoy at the African Union (AU).

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in June 2018 appointed Zewde as his Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UN Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

The appointment of Zewde, 68, came shortly after the approval of Teshome’s resignation request by the two houses’ joint extraordinary session.

Teshome was unanimously appointed as Ethiopia’s president on Oct. 7, 2013 while he was serving as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey.

Teshome’s resignation, and the eventual appointment of Zewde, followed the recent Ethiopian government’s cabinet reshuffle.

The HoPR last week approved the appointment of 16 new cabinet members upon the endorsement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in which only four of the previous cabinet members remained in their positions.

Exercising a parliamentary political system, the Ethiopian president has a ceremonial power, which includes granting amnesty to prisoners, officially opening the annual proceedings of the parliament’s two houses, receiving foreign ambassadors, as well as presenting the country’s annual targets to members of the parliament.

The prime minister is the head of government, in which a political party or coalition with the highest parliamentary seats, at least 51 percent of the active seats at the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, forms a government.
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Kenyan leader congratulates Zewde on election as Ethiopia president

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday congratulated Sahle-Work Zewde on her election as the first female president of Ethiopia.

Kenyatta said the election of Zewde who was Director-General of the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON) is a resounding demonstration of the changing fortunes for the indefatigable and distinguished women of Africa.

"I am elated for Hon. Sahle-Work Zewde on her election earlier today to the position of President of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. It is a historic moment for the people of Ethiopia, Africa and indeed the whole world," he said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the president is the head of state, but the office’s powers are ceremonial and include opening Parliament, appointing ambassadors following the Prime Minister’s recommendation and receiving the credentials of foreign envoys.

Sahle-Work, a career diplomat and international civil servant, joins the expanding league of distinguished African women to occupy the apex office on the continent with former presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and Joyce Banda of Malawi.

The 68-year-old Zewde has promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in the East Africa nation, calling on citizens to maintain peace.

Kenyatta recalled that when the Ethiopian diplomat served in Nairobi as the director general of UNON, they held several fruitful consultative meetings and developed a great working relationship.

"It is this relationship that I look forward to strengthening as we work together for the mutual benefit of our two countries." said Kenyatta.
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African Union commend appointment of new female president in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) on Thursday hailed the incoming of Sahle-Work Zewde as new president of the East African country.

Zewde, the first female president in modern history of Ethiopia, was on Thursday sworn in before members of the two houses, the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and the Ethiopian House of Federation (HoF).

In his statement, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomed the incoming of Zewde as the new president, noting that it is a landmark in many respects.

Previously, Zewde served as Ethiopia’s permanent envoy to the African Union (AU) and also top posts of the United Nations (UN).

Ethiopia has recently formed a new cabinet, whereby females make up 50 percent of the cabinet members.

"It is the first time in Ethiopia’s long and proud history that a woman is assuming this elected high office. Coming after the formation of gender parity Cabinet, it marks a new milestone in Ethiopia’s trajectory towards women’s empowerment and effective participation in political decision-making," the Chairperson of the AU Commission said.

"The confidence bestowed upon Madam Zewde is a source of pride not only for Ethiopia, but also for the continent as a whole," he added.

Congratulating the new president, he wished her every success in her tenure, which coincides with a momentous transformation in Ethiopia towards strengthening the country’s unity, deepening democracy, and sustaining development.

Mahamat also commended the leadership of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Ethiopia’s Parliament.

Reiterating Zewde’s distinguished diplomatic services both in the Ethiopian Government and at the UN, which she discharged with utmost competence and professionalism, as well as her in-depth knowledge of AU, the Chairperson has noted that in her new responsibilities, she would spare no efforts in pushing forward the achievement of the continent’s aspirations as encapsulated in Agenda 2063.
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IGAD hails Ethiopia for electing first female president

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an east African trade bloc, on Thursday hailed Ethiopia for electing Sahle-Work Zewde, as the first female president of the country.

The Ethiopian parliament’s two houses earlier on Thursday appointed Zewde as the next Ethiopian president, replacing outgoing President Mulatu Teshome who served the post for the last five years.

In a press statement, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Mahboub Maalim, said Zewde brings to the Ethiopian Presidency an in-depth knowledge of the east African region and will advance her country and the region in all aspects of life.

"The Executive Secretary expressed his conviction beyond doubt" that Sahle-Work Zewde as a seasoned diplomat with extensive and in-depth knowledge of the region will advance her country and the region towards further progress in all aspects of life," said the statement.

The IGAD statement further noted the elevation of Zewde to the post of the Ethiopian presidency, the first by a female, demonstrates the inclusivity and gender parity at the highest level of policy making spheres since the appointment of the administration of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in April.

"I congratulate the government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the increased representation of women in the recently formed cabinet where female make up half of the appointees," further said the IGAD statement.

Earlier this month, the Ethiopian parliament approved a 20 strong ministerial cabinet, half of which was filled by females, which included the appointment of Ethiopia’s first ever female defense minister.
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Ethiopian parliament elects first female president as predecessor resigns

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian parliament’s two houses on Thursday appointed Sahle-Work Zewde as Ethiopia’s first female president.

Zewde was appointed as the east African country’s incoming president following the official resignation of former President Mulatu Teshome on Thursday.

The newly elected president was on Thursday sworn in before members of the two houses as the east African country’s newly elected president.

Zewde, in her acceptance speech before the parliament’s two houses - the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HOPR) and the Ethiopian House of Federation, the lower and upper houses respectively, vowed to serve her country and its people with her utmost efforts.

She also stressed the need to maintain the longstanding unity among Ethiopians as well as sustain the ongoing reform of the Ethiopian government and the governance structure.

Prior to her appointment as Ethiopia’s president, Zewde was Ethiopia’s permanent envoy at the African Union (AU).

Zewde, who is a well-regarded diplomat representing Ethiopia at global, continental and regional organizations including the UN and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had also served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to various countries.

The appointment of Zewde, 68, came shortly after the approval of Teshome’s resignation request by the two houses’ joint extraordinary session.

Teshome was unanimously appointed as Ethiopia’s president on Oct. 7, 2013 while he was serving as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Turkey.

Teshome, 63, had served in various high-level Ethiopian government offices and ministries as Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Cooperation, Minister of Agriculture, and Spokesperson of the House of Federation.

He had also served in various diplomatic missions representing the east African country to China, Turkey, Japan, Thailand and Azerbaijan.

Teshome’s resignation, and the eventual appointment of Zewde, also followed the recent Ethiopian government’s cabinet reshuffle.

The HoPR last week approved the appointment of 16 new cabinet members upon the endorsement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in which only four of the previous cabinet’s members remained in their positions.
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Ethiopia’s first female President Sahle-Work Zewde

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Ethiopian parliament on Thursday elected Sahle-Work Zewde as the east African country’s first ever female president.

Zewde’s was appointed by the Ethiopian parliament’s two houses - the Ethiopian House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) and the Ethiopian House of Federation, the lower and upper houses respectively - which followed the official resignation of President Mulatu Teshome on Thursday.

Zewde, who is a well-regarded diplomat representing Ethiopia at global, continental and regional organizations including the UN, the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had also served as Ethiopia’s ambassador to various countries.

In June 2018, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Zewde as his Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UN Office to the African Union (UNOAU) at the level of Under-Secretary-General.

Zewde, who was the Director-General of the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON) during her appointment by Guterres, was the first woman appointed to the position, according to the UN.

The UN, while revealing Zewde’s appointment by the Secretary-General as his Special Representative to the AU and Head of the UNOAU, also indicated that Zewde "brings three decades of progressively responsible experience at the national, regional and international levels."

According to her biography read before the Ethiopian parliament on Thursday, Zewde has also served as the Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA) as well as permanent envoy of Ethiopia to the AU and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

With her vast experience at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that includes Director-General for African Affairs under the ministry, Zewde was Ethiopia’s Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and accredited to Tunisia and Morocco from 2002 to 2006.

She was also Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to IGAD from 1993 to 2002, and Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea from 1989-1993.

Zewde, 68, in her acceptance speech that followed her swearing in ceremony before the two houses on Thursday, also vowed to serve her country and its people with her utmost efforts.

She also reiterated her readiness to apply her experience in diplomacy to effectively serve her country as she takes the Ethiopian president’s office.

She also stressed her dedication to maintain the longstanding unity among Ethiopians as well as sustain the ongoing reform of the Ethiopian government and the governance structure.

As the east African country exercises a parliamentary political system, the country’s president has a ceremonial power, which includes granting amnesty to prisoners, officially opening the annual proceedings of the parliament’s two houses, receive foreign ambassadors, as well as present the country’s annual targets to members of the parliament.

The prime minister is the head of government, in which a political party or coalition with the highest parliamentary seats, at least 51 percent of the active seats at HoPR - the Ethiopian parliament’s lower house, forms a government.
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FURTHER READING:

Ethiopia elects its first female President while Ethnic clashes tarnish reforms

Sahle-Work Zewde is UN diplomat and first woman President of Ethiopia

             

 

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