Halala! Ethiopia appoints first female president - here's what you need to know about her

26 October 2018 - 08:29 By Ntokozo Miya
Sahle-Work Zewde has been appointed as the first female president of Ethiopia.
Sahle-Work Zewde has been appointed as the first female president of Ethiopia.
Image: REUTERS/Noor Khamis/File Photo

Ethiopia's decision to appoint Sahle-Work Zewde as the country's first female president was largely welcomed by the continent and across the globe. This appointment makes her the only serving female president in Africa.

In Ethiopia, the prime minister is the highest authority. According to Al Jazeera, he president's role is largely ceremonial, with a focus on social influence.

President Zewde will hold office under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who is a firm supporter of progressive gender equality policies. Half of the posts in his 20-person cabinet are held by women.

So, who is Sahle-Work Zewde?

Zewde has extensive diplomatic experience and previously served as Ethiopia's ambassador in a number of countries including Senegal, Djibouti and France. 

She studied in France and received her natural sciences degree at the University of Montpellier. The Ethiopian president has a flair for languages and speaks Amharic, French and English. 

This is not the first time Zewde has been appointed to a position that was previously only ever held by men. She was the first female chosen to serve as the United Nations Special Representative to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union. 

It's a yes from Twitter!

Zewde has the support of many in her country and has dominated the trends list on Twitter since her appointment.