Ethiopia Was And Remains A Unique Role Model For Sub-Saharan Africa

Open Letter To Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Dear Prime Minister, allow me to first congratulate the people of Ethiopia for hard work that is leading to improved lives. According to the projections by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ethiopia’s per capita income will be US$1,017 in 2021. Ethiopia, in other words, will reach the middle-income milestone in two years’ time. The IMF further projects that Ethiopia’s GDP will reach the US$106 billion mark in 2021. That achievement will consolidate Ethiopia’s position as Sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth-largest economy after Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola. And when the 6,000 Megawatts Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is completed, not only will Ethiopia achieve 100% electricity access, the surplus of energy will be exported to the neighboring countries.

Prime Minister Ahmed, Ethiopia’s economic achievement is great news — but it is in the political realm that your leadership is nothing short of extraordinary. In a matter of seven months since you became Prime Minister, Ethiopia has transformed itself from a ruthless iron-fisted dictatorship into a promise of decency that Sub-Saharan Africa has craved for since independence. Ethiopia has a habit of playing a unique role that inspires Sub-Saharan Africa. We are witnessing a new round of inspiration.

What you has accomplished since becoming prime minister in April 2018 is astounding


What you has accomplished since becoming prime minister in April 2018 is extraordinary. Here are the highlights:

  • Released political prisoners.
  • Welcomed back home exiled political leaders.
  • Ended hostilities with neighboring Eritrea.
  • Appointed Meaza Ashenafi, a prominent lawyer and women’s rights activist, the first female President of the Federal Supreme Court.
  • Nomined Birtukan Mideksa, former judge and opposition leader, to be the chairperson of the National Electoral Board; she was later approved by parliament.
  • Appointed equal number of women and men to the Ethiopian cabinet.
  • Removed the military from running public enterprises and other state-sponsored business projects.
  • Put on trial senior establishment figures of the ruling party suspected of having played roles in human rights violations.

Ethiopia’s Steps Towards Decency is what Sub-Saharan Africans have yearned for since independence

Prime Minister Ahmed, as you are well aware, authoritarian regimes of one kind or another persist in Sub-Saharan Africa. In some cases, dynasties are forming — power stays within the ruling families. The people of the region still yearn for political decency, nearly 60 years after independence. Ethiopia’s reforms offer hope not only to its people but to all Sub-Saharan Africans. This is not the first time Ethiopia is Sub-Saharan Africa’s hope. Ethiopia was never colonized — on the contrary, Ethiopia defeated the Italian invaders in 1896 and remained an independent state. Italy invaded Ethiopia again in 1935. The Italian occupiers were driven out of the country in 1941. In other words, Ethiopia was and remains a unique role model for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dear Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, under your leadership, Ethiopia is inspiring Sub-Saharan Africa, yet again, through politics built on decency. We pray for your good health, courage, and resilience in pursuit of your vision of a decent Ethiopia. We pray for the people of Ethiopia for their determination to defend the gains made so far. We pray for you and Ethiopian leaders as you collectively institutionalize your reforms across Ethiopian society to prevent future dictatorships. God Bless you.

David Himbara

Toronto, Canada