*(Via Newsweek) – Ethiopia has appointed Sahle-Work Zewde as its first female president, also making the career diplomat the only serving female head of state in Africa.
Although the role is largely ceremonial, as the country’s prime minister holds the most power, the position still comes with significant social and political influence. The unanimous decision by the nation’s parliament also came just after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was elected in April, appointed a new 20-member cabinet—half of which were women—earlier this month.
Accepting her new role, Sahle-Work emphasized that she would focus on women’s issues and push for continued reforms in her new role.
“If the current change in Ethiopia is headed equally by both men and women, it can sustain its momentum and realize a prosperous Ethiopia free of religious, ethnic and gender discrimination,” she said, according to Al Jazeera. “The absence of peace victimizes firstly women, so during my tenure I will emphasize women’s roles in ensuring peace and the dividends of peace for women,” she added.
Fitsum Arega, the prime minister’s chief of staff, hailed the new president’s appointment on Twitter, highlighting that Sahle-Work is the “first female head of state in modern Ethiopia,” Reuters reported.
Get the rest of this story at Newsweek.