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Ethiopia Appoints Its First Female President Sahle-Work Zewde

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Ethiopia on Thursday, October 25, appointed Sahle-Work Zewde – a woman – to the largely ceremonial position of president for the first time.

In a unanimous vote, the country’s lawmakers picked career diplomat Sahle-Work Zewde to replace Mulatu Teshome who resigned.

Her election to the ceremonial position comes a week after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed appointed a cabinet with half the posts taken up by women.

After being sworn in, President Sahle-Work promised to work hard to make gender equality a reality in Ethiopia.

Addressing parliament, she also pledged to promote peace:

“I urge you all, to uphold our peace, in the name of a mother, who is the first to suffer from the absence of peace.”

Sahle-Work, who is in her late 60s, has been Ethiopia’s ambassador to France, Djibouti, Senegal and the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Before her appointment as president she was the UN’s top official at the African Union. She is fluent in English and French as well as Amharic.

As president she is expected to serve two six-year terms.

Ms Sahle-Work has now become Africa’s only female head of state.

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