Neway Gebreab, longest serving economic advisor to PM passes away
Neway Gebreab, the longest serving economic advisor to two former prime ministers, Meles Zenawi and Hailemariam Dessalegn, passed away on Monday. His funeral was held on Thursday February 27, 2020 at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa in the presence of high-level government officials. Neway has been receiving medical treatment after falling sick.
Apart from his advisory role to the prime ministers, Neway was also served as Chair of the Board of Director of the National Bank of Ethiopia and member of the Macroeconomic Council for nearly 25 years until his retirement that coincided with the coming into power of PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD). He also headed the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI).
He also served as member of steering committee and chairman of NEPAD, APRM (African Peer Review Mechanism) member and chairman; Education planning Adviser, Ministry of Education Lesotho, Maseru, UNESCO
Neway, who received his BA in Economics from Addis Ababa University and Bachelors of Letters (Literature – B-Litt) in Economics from Oxford University, had worked at the state policy bank, the Development Bank of Ethiopia, and the National Planning Commission. He then moved to the UK and worked as a consultant to then move to various UN agencies holding the same post as a consultant. He returned to Ethiopia following the downfall of the Derg regime in 1991.
Among the many achievements, Neway’s fingerprints in the two development plans crafted since 2010 and the green development initiatives in Ethiopia under the umbrella of the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE), are colorfully placed, coworkers say. His belief in the need to tie economic development with resilience was at the center of his endeavors.
At the end of his tenure, Neway was officially declared by the Ethiopian government as a candidate for the post Economic Affairs Commissioner at the African Union Commission on June 26, 2017. But he did not succeed in winning the post.
Hirut Zemene, the state Minister of Foreign Affairs, said while nominating him that, “Neway, an accomplished practitioner with decades of experience in the economic affair will lead the continent to transformation,” adding that “he will repeat the wonder in Ethiopia's economy to the whole of Africa.”
Speaking himself at the time, Neway had said that, the “AUC Economic Affair Commission needs to be well placed into the very fabric of the growth and transformation strategies and plans of African countries,” and pledged to work towards the realization of AU's Agenda 2063, Economic integration, Free trade, and economic transformation.
In 2016, Neway received the Japanese Government’s Imperial Decoration which the Japanese Embassy in Addis Ababa said, “the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, bestowed upon Neway is for his contribution to further strengthening economic relations between Japan and Ethiopia.”