For more than three years, Ethiopia has teetered on the edge of chaos. After relentless nationwide protests, the government declared a state of emergency in October 2016, which lasted for 10 months and resulted in mass arrests but few reforms. In February, ongoing calls for change led to the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who had held office since 2012.
The nomination of a new premier in March, Abiy Ahmed, renewed hope for meaningful change. Ahmed delivered an upbeat acceptance speech focused on reconciliation. He has since carried out the former primer minister’s plans to close a notorious prison where dissidents were toturted, released some jailed protesters, removed restrictions on internet access and reshuffled his cabinet to improve political representation among the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups.
In a national tour following his nomination, Ahmed has promoted a message of unity and growth.