Janneh mourns loss of Prime Minister Meles, praises his committment to poverty eradication
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ECA Press Release 134/2012

Addis Ababa, 22 August, 2012 (ECA) -  Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has expressed his deep sorrow over the sad and untimely death of Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Mr. Janneh conveyed his heartfelt condolences and that of the entire staff of the United Nations in Ethiopia in an official statement addressed to the Acting Prime Minister, Hailemariam Dessalegn.

Mr. Janneh described the late Prime Minister Meles as “a visionary, dynamic and dedicated leader of Ethiopia and indeed the entire African continent.” He praised his commitment to eradicating poverty in Ethiopia and the transformation of its economy, which he said was “manifested in the success of social programmes and high growth rates that have lifted millions of people out of poverty.”

“His legacy is evident throughout the length and breadth of the country, particularly in the first rate infrastructure that is being constructed in virtually all sectors and the fact that Ethiopia was not found wanting during the last humanitarian emergency in the Horn of Africa,” added Mr. Janneh.

Underlining his commitment to the Continent, the Under Secretary-General said the passing away of Prime Minister Meles was “a matter of great sorrow for Africa.” He hailed Prime Minister Meles as “a dedicated and committed pan-Africanist” whose passion for the development and transformation of the continent was obvious in his leadership of African Union processes, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the Committee of Heads of State on Climate Change.” Mr. Janneh praised the late Prime Minister for being exemplary, committed and providing insightful direction to these processes, including piloting the African delegation to G20 and G8 meetings.

Mr. Janneh noted that the late Prime Minister’s remit extended beyond development to issues of peace and security and “it was notable that he was able to win the trust of both Sudan and South Sudan in mediating their differences while also supporting efforts to restore order to Somalia.” He added that the late Prime Minister played a unifying role in IGAD, bearing further testimony to the commitment he had for regional and sub-regional causes.

Mr. Janneh stressed that Prime Minister Meles was a constant source of encouragement to the ECA and was unfailing in promoting and supporting the Commission’s initiatives and activities.

He described the statements made by the late Prime Minister at the African Development Forum and the African Union/ECA Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development as “insightful, stimulating and well thought out, serving as reference points for participants in these and other similar events.”
“We are particularly proud of the fact that the late Prime Minister made maximum use of our strengths as an African knowledge institution and amplified our humble contributions in various ways,” said Janneh.

“As we mourn the loss of this great son of Africa, I wish on my own part and on behalf of the staff of the entire United Nations System in Ethiopia to extend sincerest commiserations through you to the wife, children and friends of the late Prime Minister and the entire Government and people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on this sorrowful event,” said Janneh.

He added that over the past seven years, he had personally benefited from the friendship, guidance and support of Prime Minister Meles with regard to the execution of his duties and responsibilities as Executive Secretary of the ECA.

“I shall eternally be indebted to him and forever cherish his memory,” he said and added: “Our prayers at this time of immense grief are for strength and succor for all the bereaved and for the continued unity and progress of this great African nation which is highly respected in the international community due in no small measure to the efforts of the late Prime Minister.”

 

Issued by:

ECA Information and Communication Service
P.O. Box 3001
Addis Ababa Ethiopia

Tel: 251 11 5445098 Fax: +251-11-551 03 65
E-mail: ecainfo@uneca.org
Web: www.uneca.org

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© 2012 Economic Commission for Africa