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Ethiopia's New Cabinet is Made Up of 50 Percent Women

The move is the latest sweeping change made under "reformist" Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's leadership.

In an unprecedented move towards gender inclusion within the Ethiopian government, the country's lawmakers have announced a new cabinet made up of 50 percent women.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed—who has been described as a reformist, due to landmark changes that have occurred under his leadership—made the announcement on Tuesday. "Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can't lead," he said in Parliament. "This decision is the first in the history of Ethiopia and probably in Africa."

During the speech he also stated that "women are less corrupt than men," reports BBC Africa.


In the new cabinet, which has been reduced from 28 to 20 ministers total, two women will serve in top security positions for the first time ever, reports the Washington Post. Aisha Mohammed has been named Minister of Defense, while Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will lead the new Ministry of Peace, which will manage the nation's intelligence and information services, and will work to tackle the ethnic conflict in the country's rural areas.

According to the Associated Press, a number of African nations have had women as defense ministers in the past, including South Africa, Central African Republic, Kenya and Guinea-Bissau.

Rwanda has received international recognition for its efforts to include women in important governmental positions in recent years. Women make up 43 percent of the country's Cabinet and 61 percent of its parliament members.

The Washington Post reports that the new cabinet also represents the country's ethnic and religious diversity. To quote the publication directly, "Aisha, the new defense minister, comes from the arid and predominantly Muslim Afar region, while new Finance Minister Ahmed Shide is from the Somali region."

Ahmed spoke about the importance of increased social inclusion in the country in an interview with the Daily Maverick. "Inclusiveness and coexistence is critical in Ethiopia," said the Prime Minister. "Because of differences in terms of tribalism, and religion, and the virtually feudal system of land ownership which prevailed in the past."

While many consider this a groundbreaking step towards gender equality, some are more cautious about showering the government with praise, questioning whether the move is indeed a genuine move towards gender equality or simply performative.

Here's some of what folks are saying online about the news:




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The Gorillaz Enlist Fatoumata Diawara for New Track 'Désolé

A stunning collaboration that we didn't even know we needed.

The Gorillaz enlist none other than Malian singer Fatoumata Diawara for their latest single "Désolé," the second single from the hit-making British band's Song Machine installation project.

"Making Désolé with Fatou was a real moment for me, you know," the band's drummer Russel Hobbs is quoted as saying in a statement via Pitchfork. Désole translates to "sorry" in French, but despite it's apologetic title, the song is a laid-back groove, elevated by vocals from lead singer Damon Albarn and Diawara, who sings in English, French and Bambara.

"She's an African Queen," Russel adds. "This lady made the song what it is, beautiful, like life. What can I say about Désolé? They say sorry is the hardest word, but that's not true.... Try saying antidisestablishmentarianism with a mouth full of gluten free cronuts on a speed boat without licking your lips."

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Diamond Platnumz and Tanasha in "Gere" (Youtube)

The 7 Best East African Songs of the Month

Featuring Diamond Platnumz x Tanasha, Sauti Sol, Rayvanny, Sheebah, Victoria Kimani and more.

February has been dominated by familiar voices in East African music.

Here are our picks of the best East African songs of the month featuring Diamond Platnumz, Sheebah, Rayvanny and more.

Follow our East African Grooves playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Zlatan Reflects on 'Life' on Heartfelt New Track

Watch the music video for the Nigerian artist's latest.

Nigerian artist Zlatan gets pensive on his latest track "Life."

The song is a departure from the Zanku (Leg Work) singer's usual dance-worthy style. Instead, the slow-paced anthem sees him reflecting on his rise, and making it as an artist against all odds. "My life changed in one day," sings the artist on the hook.

The video, directed by Hassan Al Raae, features a different setting for the artist as well, as the artist appears at a skiing resort surrounded by snow, which provides a crisp backdrop for the track's hopeful message.

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Lord Paper x Bosom P-Yung 'Asabone' (Youtube)

The 10 Best Ghanaian Songs of the Month

Featuring Sarkodie, M.anifest, Efya, Shatta Wale, Wendy Shay, Lord Paper x Bosom P-Yung and more.

February has been quite the month for music. From the top shots in music right down to the rising new acts, we give you a list of some of the best songs to come out of Ghana this month. Check them out below.

Follow our GHANA WAVE playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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