Ethiopia is experiencing the emergence of a new generation of leaders in a country rich in ancient heritage and with a rapidly growing youth population. These youthful brains are paving the way in various fields, including social entrepreneurship, technology development, education reform, and environmental advocacy. They are full of creative ideas and unflinching resolve. Nobel laureate and Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai said, “African youth can be the stewards of our continent’s future.” They can foster an environmentally conscious, sustainable Africa that cherishes its abundant natural legacy.”
Here, we highlight ten of Ethiopia’s most bright young talents who are changing the country and encouraging others to do the same:
Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Abiy Ahmed Ali, a politician from Ethiopia, has led the Prosperity Party and served as Ethiopia’s third prime minister. He started working quickly after he was inaugurated, enacting significant reforms in the areas of bolstering democracy, enhancing the economy, and settling the nation’s protracted border dispute with Eritrea. Thousands of political prisoners were freed during his first year in office, and some opposition groups were taken off the government’s list of groups it considered to be terrorist organizations. Subsequently, he and one of the parties struck a peace deal meant to put an end to the Ogaden region’s more than thirty years of conflict.
Netsanet Alem, UN Environmental Champion
This 26-year-old activist for the environment is the creator of the grassroots organisation Let’s Do It! Ethiopia, which organises thousands of volunteers to clear the nation of plastic waste. Because of Netsanet’s leadership, over 100,000 tonnes of rubbish have been removed, earning her a spot on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and recognition as a UN Environment Champion.
The field of struggle for Hiwot is education. The organization Girl Up Ethiopia, which promotes girls’ education and empowerment, was formed by this 27-year-old social entrepreneur. Hiwot has assisted hundreds of girls in pursuing their aspirations and getting access to high-quality education through workshops, scholarships, and mentorship programs. She was listed on the BBC’s 100 Women list and received the Queen Elizabeth Young Leaders Award for her dedication.
Helen Tadesse, Advocate for Mental Health
In Ethiopia, Helen Tadesse has become a well-known proponent of mental health awareness. She has devoted her life to de-stigmatising mental health concerns, offering support networks, and promoting mental health legislation through her organisation, Mental Health Ethiopia. Because of Helen’s work, Ethiopian society is beginning to recognise the importance of mental health in achieving overall well-being.
Yohannes Gebregeorgis, the champion of literacy
Yohannes Gebregeorgis has devoted his life to encouraging young Ethiopians to become literate. As the initiator of the “Ethiopian Children’s Book Initiative,” he has pushed for the establishment of libraries and increased availability of books in marginalised areas. Yohannes thinks that promoting a culture of knowledge and understanding and helping Ethiopia’s youth reach their full potential both depend on reading.
Surafel’s interest is safeguarding Ethiopia’s rich cultural legacy. Through his engrossing documentaries, this 28-year-old director captures traditional stories, languages, and rituals. In addition to shedding light on Ethiopia’s rich cultural tapestry, Surafel’s work encourages appreciation and preservation initiatives. His films have screened at major film festivals and taken home honours, such as the Crystal Bear from the Berlin Film Festival.
Aya Chebbi, Leader of the Pan-African Youth Movement
The first-ever African Union Youth Envoy, Aya Chebbi, is a vibrant leader who has played a key role in inspiring young Africans to work together for growth and togetherness. Aya, who was born in Tunisia, is an advocate for youth rights and ambitions throughout the continent, reaching beyond national boundaries. She has promoted intercultural communication, teamwork, and the advancement of a pan-African agenda through her leadership.
Etenesh Diro, a sports icon and advocate for women’s empowerment
As a successful athlete and supporter of women’s empowerment, Etenesh Diro has broken down barriers in the sports industry. Beyond her accomplishments on the track, Etenesh has advocated for gender equality and increased participation in athletics among Ethiopian women by using her platform. Young females who want to follow their talents in normally male-dominated industries can find inspiration in her story.
Muna’s mission is to empower women by promoting their financial inclusion. Muna Money, a mobile money network that offers financial services to women in rural Ethiopia, was launched by this 29-year-old entrepreneur. Women can save, receive, and send money more easily with Muna Money, which increases their economic involvement and gives them more control over their resources. The Clinton Foundation and the World Economic Forum have both acknowledged Muna’s work.
The experiences of these 15 up-and-coming Ethiopian youth leaders demonstrate the variety of skill, enthusiasm, and inventiveness among the country’s youth. With regards to technology, environmental sustainability, gender equality, and human rights, these leaders are leading innovative projects that hold out hope for a better future for Ethiopia. Their efforts inspire other young Ethiopians to realise their potential and actively participate in the continuous process of progress and development as they continue to influence the course of the country. These up-and-coming leaders’ tenacity, dedication, and vision highlight how important it is for young people to lead Ethiopia towards positive transformation and sustainable progress.
Human rights advocate Zelalem Kibret states: “The youth of Ethiopia are like a flame that never goes out, unstoppable in their fight against injustice. As the bearers of the human rights torch, we demand transparency and pave the way for a society that is more just and equal.