Following the statement that Dr Abiye Ahmed Ali has been announced as the presumptive new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald from Cranfield University and one of the UK’s leading experts in Ethiopian affairs, said:

“Following an intense period of unrest in Ethiopia which has been marked by anti-government protests, acknowledged failures in political leadership, the resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Deselegn, and further incidents of violence in four of the country’s regional states, the appointment of Dr. Abiye gives some hope for peace, continuity and stability both in Ethiopia and the wider region.

“Perhaps the most glaring and imminent challenge for the new leader will be to open space for a more plural and inclusive political dialogue.  Quick wins in this area will go some way to closing the gap between the ruling administration and those opposition groups operating from both inside and outside of Ethiopia.

“As commentators continue to question whether Africa’s development ‘jewel’ is heading towards peril, the appointment of Dr.Abiye Ahmed Ali as Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister should be welcomed and supported.  Beyond his professional and policy experience, his personal roots, institutional networks and academic background help provide a compelling profile which could tackle the country’s current agenda.  The challenge will now be for the new leader to select a bright, gender-balanced cabinet to bridge the gains of the past and the challenges of the future.  It should also aim to prioritise areas which address a more plural political dialogue, youth employment opportunities and a resilient, yet measured and socially progressive, economic agenda. 

“Despite a rocky start to 2018, this year could prove to be the start of Ethiopia’s new dawn.”

Notes for editors

About Professor Ann Fitz-Gerald

Ann Fitz-Gerald is a Professor of international security management at Cranfield University.  Prior to joining Cranfield’s Department of Security and Management, she worked at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College, London University.  Ann has worked with many African governments on issues relating to national security and security sector governance, as well as supporting peace talks and national security dialogue.  She is currently the Course Director for Cranfield University’s Masters programme in Security Sector Management, which is delivered in both the United Kingdom and in East Africa.

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