Ethiopia: Abiy Ahmed – Bringing a Touch of Madiba Magic to Ethiopia
By Carien Du Plessis
In 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed became the youngest head of state in Africa, and one of the most talked-about in the world. In less than nine months, he’s opened up the political space in Ethiopia, changed the geopolitics in the horn of Africa, and is a serious contender for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
Abiy Ahmed was only 13 when Nelson Mandela was released from prison, but there have already been comparisons between the world icon and the newly appointed Ethiopian prime minister. Abiy’s also a fan and wore a lime-green T-shirt with an image of Mandela in a raised-fist salute, above a slogan that read: “No one is free until the last one is free” – ironically to a rally where there was an attempt on his life.
Both Abiy and Madiba have achieved the near-impossible: Mandela led South Africa from apartheid to democracy, while Abiy led Ethiopia to peace and more openness.
It’s still early days – Abiy was appointed on 2 April – so comparisons might be a…