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Demeke Mekonnen
ደመቀ መኮንን
Demeke Mekonnen Hassen - 2020 (cropped).jpg
Demeke in 2020
Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Assumed office
21 September 2012
Serving with Debretsion Gebremichael
(2012 -2016)
and Aster Mamo
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Abiy Ahmed
Preceded by Hailemariam Desalegn
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Assumed office
4 November 2020
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Preceded by Gedu Andargachew
In office
8 March 2019 – 18 April 2019
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
Preceded by Workneh Gebeyehu
Succeeded by Gedu Andargachew
Chairman of the
Amhara Democratic Party
In office
8 September 2010 – 1 December 2019
Deputy Gedu Andargachew
Preceded by Addisu Legesse
Succeeded by post abolished
Minister of Education
In office
30 October 2008 – 4 July 2013
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Hailemariam Desalegn
Succeeded by Shiferaw Shigute
Personal details
Born (1963-09-27) 27 September 1963 (age 60)
Gojjam, Ethiopian Empire
Political party Prosperity Party
Other political
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Amhara Democratic Party
Spouse Alemitu Kassaye
Alma mater Bradford University
Addis Ababa University

Demeke Mekonnen Hassen (Amharic: ደመቀ መኮንን ሐሰን; born 27 September 1963) is an Ethiopian politician, serving as the deputy prime minister of Ethiopia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and vice-president of the Prosperity Party. He previously served as chairman of the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) and deputy chair of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) until the dissolution of the two in December 2019.

Life and education

Demeke was born in the Gojjam Province of Ethiopia and later was resettled to the Chagni district during the Derg's resettlement program. He is a Muslim Amhara.

Demeke was sent to a high school in Feres Bet, a town located in the present day Dega Damot woreda in Mirab Gojjam Zone. Later he joined the Addis Ababa University and studied Biology in the Arat Kilo campus and received his BA in 1988. He also earned his MA in Political Science from Bradford University.

After graduation, he returned to his native region to begin his career as a teacher. He taught biology in Feres Bet High School, for two years, before he was transferred to Bure in the same province. It was in Bure, which housed the lone high school in the area named after the former governor of the region, Ras Bitwoded Mengesha Atikim, that Demeke met Alemitu Kassaye, a student of the high school at that time, and his future wife and mother of his three children.

Political career

Demeke joined Amhara's ruling ADP in the early 1990s. Demeke first took part in the national election held in 1995, and won a seat in the Amhara Regional Council, where he was appointed general secretary. In the middle of his term, he went to England to do his post-graduate studies in conflict management. Upon his return in 2001, he was assigned to establish and lead the ethics and anti-corruption commission of the region.

He was then moved to head the administrative and security affairs bureau of the region, where he had served up until 2005. He was then promoted to the vice presidency of the regional state following the highly contested election in 2005, under the presidency of Ayalew Gobeze. A year later, he was elected to the executive committee of ANDM, a member of the EPRDF coalition formed in 1983, in Jerba Yohannes of Wag Himra Zone. Finally, he was elevated to the position of deputy chair of the party replacing Tefera Walwa; and in 2010 became the first non-combatant chairman of the ANDM, replacing Addisu Legesse.

Demekes first role on the national level within the ruling EPRDF coalition began in 2008, when he took over the post of Minister of Education under the then Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He continued to serve as minister until July 2013, when he resigned due to his heavy workload as deputy prime minister. Demeke had assumed the role in September 2012 under Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

The main task given to Demeke in 2012 was the coordination of efforts to implement and further the Growth and Transformation Plan across all governmental ministries and agencies.

In late 2015, the lower than expected spring and summer rains and the upcoming El Nino event resulted in a severe drought in Ethiopia in 2016, considered the worst drought in 30 years, with up to 10% of Ethiopians in the eastern and southern parts of Ethiopia requiring international assistance to survive in 2016 and 2017. Demeke was assigned to the task to organize the government response and to organize the food aid provided by international organizations.

On 15 February 2018, then Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his resignation. It was then expected that the ruling EPRDF would name deputy prime minister Demeke as the successor to Hailemariam, but this did not happen. Instead, Hailemariam continued as a caretaker until the election of a new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, on 2 April 2018. Demeke Mekonnen was kept as deputy prime minister under the new government.

See also

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