Fitsum Arega, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Chief of Staff, has been assigned by the Prime Minister to head the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), a reliable source with knowledge to the matter told Addis Standard. Fitsum is expected to assume his new role within the coming few days.
Fitsum served as the Commissioner of EIC before he moved to the Prime Minister’s office in April 2018. Apart from his role as chief of staff, Fitsum has also been the right-hand communicator of PM Abiy with his preferred medium of communication, Twitter and Facebook. His last tweet today was about PM Abiy’s meeting with Deputy PM Demeke Mekonnen, speaker of the House of People’s Representative (HPR), Tagesse Chafo, and Keria Ibrahim, speaker of the House of Federation, as well as Muferiat Kemil, Minister of Peace and senior officials of the Amhara and Tigray regional states regarding recent events on the identity question of the Raya people.
HE PM Abiy Ahmed today had a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Speakers of the two Houses, the Presidents of Amhara and Tigray Regional govts over the current situation in Raya and its surroundings. #Ethiopia.
— Fitsum Arega (@fitsumaregaa) October 27, 2018
A graduate of MA degree from Manchester University in Development Economics, he has also served as head of the Addis Abeba Investment Agency until his appointment as Commissioner of EIC in February 2013. Before that Fitsum was the head of the Addis Abeba Trade & Industry Bureau.
When he left EIC for the PM’s office, Fitsum was replaced by Belachew Mekuria (PhD), who led EIC until he resigned in September 2018 “for family reason who I wasn’t able to be with due to my work and who do require my full attention and presence that the responsibility I have had made it impossible,” Belachew told Addis Standard at the time.
In addition to his role as chief of staff, Fitsum is also serving as board chairman of the Ethiopian Tourism Organization. During the latest reorganization of PM Abiy’s cabinet, EIC has been given the mandate of overseeing the Ethiopian Industrial Parks Development Corporation and Land Bank and development Corporation, becoming larger than it was before.
The cabinet shuffling has also seen the dismantling of the federal government communication affairs office with announcements that a new press secretariat office will be organized under the Prime Minister’s office. Fitsum’s role as chief communicator of the Prime Minister will likely fall under the new secretariat’s mandate. PM Abiy Ahmed will be traveling to Europe for his first official trip as of tomorrow and Fitsum is expected to accompany him. AS
Ed’s Note: This news has been corrected to indicate EIC’s mandate to oversee Land Bank and Development Corporation as opposed to the original mention of Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA). The error is regretted!