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Abiy Ahmed: Meteoric rise of the man trying to remould Ethiopia


Addis Ababa (AFP) - Abiy Ahmed, the son of poor villagers who became a spy boss, and now the man behind dizzying attempts to reform Africa's fastest-growing economy and heal wounds with Ethiopia's neighbours, has seen an unpredictable and perilous rise to fame.

Another chapter will be added to his remarkable tale on Tuesday when he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.

Since becoming Ethiopian prime minister in April 2018, the 43-year-old has aggressively pursued policies that have the potential to upend his country's society and reshape dynamics beyond its borders.

Within just six months of his swearing-in, Abiy made peace with bitter foe Eritrea, released dissidents from jail, apologised for state brutality, and welcomed home exiled armed groups branded "terrorists" by his predecessors.

More recently he has turned to fleshing out his vision for the economy while laying the groundwork for elections currently scheduled for May 2020.

But analysts fret that his policies are both too much, too fast for the political old guard, and too little, too late for the country's angry youth, whose protests swept him to power.

Despite the challenges, Abiy's allies predict his deep well of personal ambition will drive him to keep swinging big.

His friend Tareq Sabt, a businessman, says one of the first things that struck him when they met was the prime minister's vision: "I always said to friends, when this guy comes to power, you'll see a lot of change in Ethiopia." Read more...


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