Sahle Work Zewde profile 800x600 womanleader GWLvoices
Her voice

“I would like to facilitate the establishment of a network of women’s organizations working on women’s economic empowerment and create much needed platforms so that more attention and investment is given to women entrepreneurs.” 

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Ms Sahle-Work Zewde is the current President of Ethiopia, being the first woman to hold the office. Ms Sahle-Work was previously Special Representative of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the African Union and Head of the United Nations Office to the African Union at the level of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Integrated Peace-building Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA).

In 2011, she was appointed as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON). Under Sahle-Work, the Nairobi office became a more important UN hub for East and Central Africa, according to the 2012 Africa Yearbook.

Sahle-Work was only the second woman to be appointed an ambassador in Ethiopia’s history. She was Ambassador to Senegal, with accreditation to Mali, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Gambia and Guinea, from 1989 to 1993. From 1993 to 2002, she was Ambassador to Djibouti and Permanent Representative to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). She later served as Ambassador to France, Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and was accredited to Tunisia and Morocco from 2002 to 2006.

Sahle-Work subsequently held other high level positions including Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Director-General for African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.