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Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn is 2015 AfricaWorld Man of the Year

It is remarkable how Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has sustained economic progress in Ethiopia after the sudden death of his predecessor in 2012

Moments after the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was re-elected as prime minister last October for a second term in an election the ruling coalition took all seats in parliament, President Mulatu Teshome said, promising economic growth of about 11 percent for the next five years – “We successfully completed the implementation of the growth and transformation plan…we will continue to deliver the sustainable, rapid, double-digit economic growth, which was registered in recent years.” AfricaWorld News, having looked at nominations across the world decided to award Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn as our 2015 MAN OF THE YEAR.

In arriving at this decision, we looked at certain qualities that distinguished him as a global leader and the impact on the people of Ethiopia. But who is Hailemariam Desalegn?

In the Ethiopian tradition, the Prime Minister is known by his first name, Hailemariam meaning ‘the power of Saint Mary’. Hailemariam Desalegn, a Protestant, and the first to lead Ethiopia, where Orthodox traditions are the spiritual path of many Christians. It is also worthy to note that, in a country dominated by major ethnic groups, Hailemariam Desalegn hail from the minority Wolayta people in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region. The Ethiopian leader was born in 1965 in the Boloso Sore district of Ethiopia. In 1988, Hailemariam earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Addis Ababa University. He also studied for double master degrees in sanitation engineering and organizational leadership from Tampere University of Technology in Finland and Azusa Pacific University in the U.S respectively. After returning from Finland, Hailemariam joined the country’s Arba Minch Water Technology Institute and served 13 years in different positions, including as registrar, vice dean, and dean of the institute.

Just few years as member of the ruling party, Hailemariam Desalegn was first appointed as vice president of the country’s southern region and later a president of the region. He improved the southern region economically and as such ethnic stability was ensured. He came to limelight at the national political scene in 2006 and as adviser to Meles Zenawi, was appointed as the government’s chief whip in parliament. In 2010, he became Deputy Prime Minister to Meles, taking charge of Foreign Affairs.

Despite the criticism of the ruling party within and outside Ethiopia since the time of late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, the progress recorded by the government of Hailemariam have been tremendous. Ethiopia, an ally of the West, is long considered a bulwark against volatility in the Horn of Africa. Its reputation as a key diplomatic player is strengthened due to its chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, mediating in the peace talks between Sudan and South Sudan on one hand and the warring parties in new South Sudan on another hand. Strategically, Ethiopia is key to the stability of the Horn of Africa as soldiers remain integral to the ongoing fight against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The country formally joined the AU peace-keeping force there in late January 2014.

Prime Minister Hailemariam has personally bolstered the peace process in the old and new Sudan since he came to power in 2012. In 2013, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn visited Sudan and South Sudan as part of the efforts to coordinate and facilitate face-to-face entente between the presidents of the two countries. The motive was to encourage the two countries to complete consultations on outstanding issues like the status of Abyei and the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreement particularly on the details of the 14 miles Temporary Security Zone Arrangement. As IGAD chairperson, Hailemariam Desalegn and President Uhuru Kenyatta have led talks between former Vice President Riek Machar and the government of President Salva Kiir to sign a peace agreement over the South Sudan conflict.

Read more here: africaworldnews

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