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Women now make up half of Ethiopia's cabinet

PICTURED: Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia (Abiy Ahmed/Facebook)

ETHIOPIA’S CABINET is now 50 per cent female following a government reshuffle.

The country’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced the changes, which come more than six months after he took up office, to his cabinet yesterday (October 16).

As well as an equal gender split, the new cabinet is also slightly smaller than before, with 20 ministerial positions down from 28.

Women have been appointed to Ethiopia’s cabinet before but this is the first time they have been appointed in such numbers and to a considerable amount of high profile positions.

The country has named its first ever female defence minister, Aisha Mohammed.

Mahlet Hailu, the deputy permanent representative of Ethiopia to the UN, tweeted: “Gender parity achieved for the first time in the history of Ethiopia.”

Fitsum Arega, chief of staff of the prime minister’s office, said: [His excellency prime minister] Abiy Ahmed has formed a new cabinet. He downsized the number of ministerial positions to 20. Women compose 50% of the new cabinet. Women are assigned to to run key ministerial portfolios including ministries of Peace, Trade and Industry, and Defense.”

Abiy, 42, the youngest head of state in Africa, delivered a speech in parliament explaining his decision.

In it he said women were “less corrupt than men”.

Abiy’s cabinet overhaul has been praised by women’s rights campaigners.

Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said: “I congratulate the new female ministers appointed by prime minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia. and congratulations to the government of Ethiopia for being the first African country with 50 per cent female ministers. ‘It is impossible until it is done’.”

Among Abiy’s other significant reforms is the ending of a two decade conflict with Eritrea.

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