Current, Former, ‘Future’ Leaders Meet

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (right) joined Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) in a meeting attended by over 1,000 university students, young leaders and future leaders under the age of 29 at the headquarters of the United Nations’ Economic Conference for Africa (UN-ECA) on June 1, 2018.

Dubbed “Inspiring the Future Leaders of Ethiopia,” it included top-scoring college student and young leaders. Abiy made the opening remark, where he spoke of growing in poverty with parents that were illiterate. He added that “friction” is holding back the nation from developing, with hearsay instead of reason driving discourses.

“The hatred is huge, that friction must be caged,” he told students.

Blair, who served as premier of the United Kingdom between 1997 and 2007, and whose time in office has since been overshadowed by his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition, made the keynote address. He told students to stick up for what they believe is right.

“The [last stage of leadership] is when you realise what you know and what you don’t know. And that’s wisdom,” he said.

The meeting included a moderated conversation with Blair, Abebe Abebayehu, deputy commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), and Amrote Abdella, regional director for Microsoft 4Afrika.

Over the decades, the government has managed to improve access to education by investing in schools and public universities. But the quality of education has often been criticised, with lack of practical experience on subject matters often singled out.

The nation has a youthful population, with the median age at around 19 years old. The dependency ratio, although having shrunk since the turn of the century when it stood at over 90pc, was at a little over 80pc in 2016, according to estimates by the World Bank.


Published on Jun 02,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 944]



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