The European Union has named new ambassadors to two of the most sensitive postings in Africa, Ethiopia and Rwanda.
Chantal Hebberecht will move to Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous state, from Kyrgyzstan, where she was also an ambassador.
Hebberecht, who is Belgian, steps into a vacancy created by the death in late May of Xavier Marchal, who was also Belgian. Before joining the EU’s diplomatic service, Hebberecht served in the European Commission, working for a time as a head of unit for Commission’s Peace Facility – a funding instrument – with a particular focus on food-security issues.
Ethiopia’s efforts to develop its economy and reduce its vulnerability to food shortages have been much praised by the European Commission, but its authoritarian political system is regularly criticised by human-rights organisations.
The other posting sees the EU’s acting ambassador to Syria move to Rwanda. Michael Ryan is currently based in Brussels because of the ongoing civil war in Syria. His previous postings include a period as head of the political section in the EU’s delegation to Egypt.
Ryan, who is British, replaces Michel Arrion, a Belgian who was earlier this year named as ambassador to Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.
Like Ethiopia, Rwanda is widely praised for its economic reforms and criticised for a lack of political openness.
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