The Former Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn has been awarded with the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan. He was hailed for his record of public service.
The ceremony was held inside the presence of the Japanese ambassador to Ethiopia, Daisuke Matsunaga last night.
The former PM joins a long list of distinguished recipients, including former politicians such as India’s one-time foreign minister, Shyam Saran and America’s one-time Obama era Defense Secretaries, Ashton B. Carter and Chuck Hagel.
The award, first established in 1875, is said to be only secondary to Japan’s Order of the Chrysanthemum, handed to heads of state or royalty, and the Order of the Paulownia Flowers, given to politicians.
Ethiopia and Japan have had historic relationships based on the development of infrastructures, education and on the textile industry until most of their holdings were nationalized in 1974.
Hailemariam has been credited with completing the implementation of the Growth and Transformation Plan and its successor, the GTP II transforming the economy of the nation, and major projects such as the signature Hawassa Industrial Project.He was praised for the peaceful transfer of power that opened the era of Abiy Ahmed (PhD).
However, he has been criticized for presiding over complaints of human rights abuses and lack of democracy.
Most of the 142 recipients from 61 nations, with the exception of few including Hailemariam (not present), were accorded the honor in the presence of Emperor Naruhito and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe inside the Imperial Palace In Tokyo.