January 28, 2013
Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, has been elected to a one-year term as chairman of the African Union Assembly, Bloomberg News reported. He takes over from Benin’s President Yayi Boni.
(The AU Commission, the organization’s secretariat, is led by South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who began serving her four-year term in July 2012.)
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Hailemariam, 47, has been Ethiopia’s leader since Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in office in August 2012, Bloomberg News reported.
Hailemariam, a former water engineer, has defied critics who feared instabilty in Ethiopia, taking over leadership of his country in a rare peaceful handover of power for the Horn of Africa nation.
The former foreign minister and deputy prime minister is from a minority ethnicity – Wolyata – and a minority religion – he’s Protestant – in Ethiopia, AFP reported.
At the handover ceremony, Yayi said he believed Hailemariam will “succeed brilliantly in his mission in pushing us forward in our agenda for unity, peace, stability and development of our continent,” AFP reported.