ETHIOPIA’S new President, Sahle-Work Zewde has joined the ranks of African women that are making history as pioneers and leaders in male-dominated spheres like politics.
Her appointment on Thursday, comes shortly after Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed appointed a gender-parity cabinet that included 10 female ministers out of 20.
The African Union chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat commended Ethiopia and Rwanda for taking strides to demonstrate that men and women are equal in politics.
‘The momentum to recognise men and women as equal in politics is vital as we work towards the Africa we want,’ Faki said.
Zewde is currently the only female head of state in Africa, after Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was the first democratically elected female president handed over office in January, having served the constitutionally mandated two terms.
Ethiopia’s first female president is a trailblazer, having also been the first woman appointed to head United Nations Office to the African Union.
Serving as the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative to the African Union, Zewde is an exceptional diplomat who has served the global organisation and her country for several years.
She has served in ambassadorial roles for Ethiopia to Senegal, Djibouti, France, the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
Zewde will serve in her capacity as president of the federal republic of Ethiopia, for the next six years and while the position is largely ceremonial, she has already indicated that she will pursue an agenda to promote peace and women empowerment.