Nov. 30, 2019 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): H.E. Dr Workneh Gebeyehu officially took over responsibility for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) during a ceremony held as part of the 13th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa yesterday Nov. 29.
The Prime Minister of Ethiopia then Chair of IGAD, the Prime Minister of Sudan who was made Chair of IGAD during the Summit, the President of Djibouti, the President of Somalia, the President of South Sudan and the President of Uganda attended the Summit that saw Dr Workneh being trusted with the leadership of IGAD Secretariat as the 6th Executive Secretary in history. Kenya was represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chair of African Union was also in attendance at the high table.
Outgoing Ambassador Mahboub Maalim symbolically handed over an IGAD flag to Dr Workneh during the ceremony; after which the new Executive Secretary pronounced his Acceptance Speech.
‘And with the commitment required to honour the confidence and trust placed in me by all the Member States, I humbly accept the appointment as the 6th Executive Secretary of our great regional organization,’ were Dr Workneh’s accepetance words.
Dr Workneh praised his predecessor for his achievements during the 11 years of service at the head of the regional organisation. Executive Secretary Dr Workneh also noted the need to do more if the organisation was ‘to remain compatible with and relevant to the current interests of [our] Member States’.
‘Despite the challenges ahead, I am however truly confident that, with the guidance and leadership of all Heads of State and Government, and the professional diligence and commitment of colleagues, IGAD can and will live up to the required level of diligence,’ he concluded.
In their remarks during the opening session, the Ethiopian Prime Minister, the Chair of the African Union, representatives from the United Nations, the European Union, the IGAD Partners Forum and the Troika countries (Norway, the United Kingdom and the USA) welcomed Dr Workneh’s appointment and wished him well in his new capacity at the head of the regional organisation.
After which the Summit embarked on discussing the other items on the agenda, adopted the IGAD new structure and agreed on Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok of Sudan as new Chair of IGAD in replacement of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia.