The tarnished image of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister seems to be getting a bit of a facelift as he has recently been awarded the ‘prestigious’ FAO Agricola Medal.
The FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, explained why Abiy Ahmed was awarded, stating, “…The Agricola Medal was conferred to His Excellency the Prime Minister for his significant contribution to rural and economic development in Ethiopia. This recognition is particularly for his personal support to the Wheat for Food Self-Sufficiency program and Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative, aligning with FAO’s Green Cities Initiative,” he said.
The award ceremony took place in Rome at an event hosted by UNFAO. Strangely, the award coincided with a prolonged famine situation that has been consistently making headlines in Ethiopian media for several months. Millions of Ethiopians are reported to be facing famine in the Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions – among other areas. These areas, in addition to experiencing drought, have been ravaged by wars the government of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Abiy Ahmed has been waging.
It appears that the FAO Director-General does not acknowledge the current challenges. Instead, he portrays an image of “impressive” development in Ethiopia over the past five years. In a news update published on its website last Sunday, FAO stated, “The Director-General further stated that he had witnessed the impressive development of Ethiopia over the past five years, which reflected the effective, accountable, and stable leadership provided by the Prime Minister, notwithstanding the difficult national, regional, and global challenges over the past years.”
For the Ethiopian Prime Minister, whose legitimacy at home has hit rock bottom due to worsening human rights violations, a security crisis, unprecedented economic hardship, and the looming threat of famine—despite his party’s claim of over 14 million members—the award may serve as a means to satisfy, as many of his critics would argue, his “narcissistic instincts.”
“I express my gratitude to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for bestowing the prestigious Agricola Medal for our efforts towards the attainment of food security. Our focus on high value and industrial crops is yielding promising results and we are committed to our food sovereignty path,” Abiy Ahmed wrote on his social media in reaction to the award.
Beyond the alarming famine crisis, the Amhara region of Ethiopia is now entrenched in a war that, initially projected to last only a few weeks, has stretched into its seventh month. Declared under a formal state of emergency since August, the full-fledged conflict is wreaking havoc on farming practices, intensifying concerns that the impending famine may be even more dire than initially perceived.
Beyond the alarming famine crisis, the Amhara region of Ethiopia is now entrenched in a war that, initially projected to last only a few weeks, has stretched into its seventh month. Declared under a formal state of emergency since August, the full-fledged conflict is wreaking havoc on farming practices, intensifying concerns that the impending famine may be even more dire than initially perceived. Ethiopia’s ruling party executive and central committee held its meetings this past week and discussed ways of tackling the crisis it has been facing.
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