Date of Birth: 08/05/1955
Place of Birth: Adwa
Married to: Azeb Mesfin with 3 children
Education: elementary, Queen of Sheba Junior Secondary School; General Wingate School, Addis Ababa, 1972; Addis Ababa University, Medical Faculty, 1972-74; M.A. Business Administration, First Class, Open University, London, 1995; MSc., Economics, Erasmus School, Netherlands, 2004
Career: Joined the TPLF, 1974; Elected leader of the Leadership Committee of the TPLF, 1979; Elected leader of the Executive Committee, 1983; Appointed Chairman of the TPLF and the EPRDF, 1989; President of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and Chairman of the Council of Representatives, 1991-1995; Chairman of the African Union, 1995-1996; elected Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, 1995, re-elected, 2000 and 2005
Last year, Meles hinted at retirement, but that looks no closer after his re-election as party head at the Ethiopian People’s Revoltionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) congress in September. Thumbing his nose at the West, Meles thanked the Chinese Communist Party and the Indian Congress Party for support. China Export-Import Bank is backing China Railway Engineering Corporation’s work on the Addis Ababa light-rail system, and China Railway Corporation is building an Addis-Me’eso line. To help Indian companies compete, India Export-Import Bank opened an office in Addis on 21 September.
With the EPRDF now controlling 545 of 547 parliamentary seats, Meles is secure in his fourth consecutive term as Prime Minister. Born in 1955 in Adwa, northern Ethiopia, Meles studied for two years at the medical faculty of Addis Ababa University before joining the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, an armed group that fought the government of Mengistu Haile Mariam, in 1975. By 1989, he was Chairman of both the TPLF and the EPRDF, the coalition of rebel forces. With the defeat of the junta in 1991, Meles became President of the Transitional Government. In 1995, he was elected Prime Minister and won re-election in 2000.
Before the 2010 elections he attributed his expected victory to seven years of double-digit economic growth: growth has certainly been seen, however the government figures have been called into question. Despite Ethiopia’s economic progress over the past two decades, Meles brooks no political dissent. After the 2005 election, rioters and demonstrators alike met a harsh police crackdown. Opposition leaders were imprisoned after disputing the outcome.
Meles holds an MA in Business Administration from the Open University, Britain, and an MSc in Economics from the Erasmus University. His wife, Azeb Mesfin, is a member of parliament and sits on the TPLF Executive Committee. He is the current African Union spokesman for climate change. As Chairman of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, he will travel to Seoul, South Korea, for the G-20 summit on 11-12 November.