Sunday, November 11, 2018

A woeful welcome for Abiy Ahmed in Paris

(The Indian Ocean Newsletter)- With Emmanuel Macron and a delegation of businessmen from the employers' association Medef International due in Addis Ababa
in March with the goal of signing some contracts, only an optimist would maintain that ‘hope springs eternal' after the arrangements to welcome the Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed Ali to Paris on 29 and 30 October turned into a fiasco.

 First of all, the presidential plane was kept in a holding pattern above Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport for ninety minutes as air-traffic controllers had not been informed of the aircraft's priority status. And then the next day's press conference at the Elysee veered towards the farcical. Abiy Ahmed Ali spoke in Amharic but his French hosts had not laid on an interpreter, so the minister of the economy and finance, Ahmed Shide, took it upon himself to translate the PM's speech into English. Hardly a welcome worthy of the new Ethiopian leader and the potential market that his country represents…