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Meles Zenawi : an extraordinary legacy on environment and development |

Posted by Ethio Tribune on August 20, 2013

It is one year since the death of Meles Zenawi, one of the world’s and Africa’s most remarkable leaders.

Meles Zenawi left college at the age of 19 in 1975 to fight against the Derg; after 16 years that brutal military regime was overcome and he led Ethiopia, first as President, then as Prime Minister, for two decades.

In that time primary school enrolment went from one-third for girls and 50 percent for boys to 100 percent. Under-five mortality fell by 60 percent, compared to sub-Saharan Africa’s 40 percent.

His ideas on environment and development are still embedded in Ethiopia’s plans for the future

If Ethiopia’s growth of GDP had been at the same rate as for sub-Saharan Africa (which was itself accelerating at that time), Ethiopian incomes would have been one-third lower than now. These are remarkable development achievements.

He was also an outstanding figure for Africa as a whole. He led for the African Union on many issues and his analytical force, wisdom and intelligence were greatly valued in the councils of the world, at the UN, G20, G7/8 and elsewhere.

Meles was also a tough man, in a tough place, ready to take difficult decisions.

Neighbouring countries were unstable and difficult. His own country is extraordinarily varied in its cultures, languages and religions, and in its environment and development.

Ethiopia, for all its progress, remained poor and vulnerable to the vagaries of weather and climate. In this difficult regional, developmental and political environment, he saw democracy as “work in progress” and it is clear that there was a long way to go.

One Response to “Meles Zenawi : an extraordinary legacy on environment and development |”

  1. […] Meles Zenawi : an extraordinary legacy on environment and development | (ethiotribune.net) […]

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