Addis Ababa: Ethiopia's prime minister created a new "Ministry of Peace" in a sweeping cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday as he sought to tackle a wave of ethnic violence.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has marked his almost seven months in office with a string of staggering reforms for this once-authoritarian country, including releasing thousands of political prisoners, making peace with its main enemy and promising to open up the economy.
But unlike the first one, PM Abiy downsized the number of ministers from 28 to 20 and equalised the gender composition to 50 percent women, and 50 percent men.
A newly formed Ministry of Peace will oversee the National Intelligence and security Service, Information Network Security Agency, Federal Police Commission and Finance Security and Information Centre.
"The main problem in this country is the lack of peace".
But since taking power, his government has been rocked by successive ethnic clashes in the countryside including violence in southern Ethiopia that has displaced almost one million people.
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Since his appointment, Abiy has made peace with neighbor Eritrea and presided over the partial privatization of key economic sectors such as telecommunications. Yet the changes have not stopped ethnically-charged violence, some of which escalated since he was named premier.
Dagmawit Moges, a former mayor of the capital was appointed defence minister, the first female to occupy that position.
The economy has grown by almost 10 percent on average for the past decade, official data shows, but the recent unrest has led to concerns over its long-term stability.
Aisha was earlier construction minister and before that in charge of the tourism ministry.
The new line-up approved by the parliament, includes Ahmed Shidie minister of finance, Omer Husen minister of agriculture, and Tilaye Gete minister of education.
Abiy's regime has been characterized by numerous reforms which have seemingly reformed the country's political landscape, the BBC reported.
But Messonnier cautioned that it would be "premature" to be confident that this year will be the same as the earlier years. Messonnier said that of the cases confirmed this year, none have been related to the polio virus or West Nile virus.
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