Debretsion Gebremichael

Debretsion Gebremichael
ደብረጽዮን ገብረሚካኤል
President of Tigray Region
Acting
Assumed office
9 January 2018
Deputy Addisalem Balema
Preceded by Abay Weldu
Chairman of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front
Assumed office
29 November 2017
Deputy Fetlework Gebregziabher
Preceded by Abay Weldu
Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia
In office
29 November 2012  6 November 2016
Serving with Demeke Mekonnen
and Aster Mamo
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Preceded by Hailemariam Desalegn
Minister of Communications and Information Technology
Assumed office
10 October 2012
Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
Preceded by Position established
(Promoted to ministry status)
Director of the Ethiopian Information and Communication Development Agency
In office
19 September 2005  10 October 2010
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
Preceded by Ayenew Bitewelign
Succeeded by Position abolished
(Promoted to ministry status)
Personal details
Born 1950s
Shire Inda Selassie, Tigray Province, Ethiopian Empire
Political party Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front
Other political
affiliations
Tigrayan People's Liberation Front
Alma mater Addis Ababa University
(BSc, MSc)
Capella University (PhD)

Debretsion Gebremichael (Tigrinya: ደብረጽዮን ገብረሚካኤል) is the current Ethiopian Minister of Communication and Information Technology, the current Chairman of the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front and the acting President of Tigray Region.[1]

Early life

Debretsion was born and raised in Shire Inda Selassie, Tigray Province, Ethiopia. He was described by some as being one of the best students in the province and received a perfect score on his entrance examinations. He was admitted into Addis Ababa University, however, he forwent his studies to join the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and fight the communist Derg.

He was sent to Italy by the TPLF and received training in communications technology. He led the team that launched the Dimtsi Woyane Tigray (The Voice of Tigray) radio station in 1980. Debretsion, along with "General Santim", were famous hackers during the Ethiopian Civil War. They routinely hijacked, jammed and sabotaged the Derg's radio, TV and military communication systems.

Education

After the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front's 1991 victory, he joined Addis Ababa university while working full-time as the second man to Kinfe Gebremedhin. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from Addis Ababa University. He received a PhD in information technologyy from Capella University in 2011.[2] His dissertation was on "Exploring the Perception of Users of Community ICT Centers on the Effectiveness of ICT on Poverty in Ethiopia".[3]

Personal life

Debretsion is an avid tennis player.[4]

Career

In 2005, Debretsion was appointed Director of the Ethiopian Information and Communication Development Agency (EICDA). As Director, Debretsion worked to improve the public service activity by launching the Public Service Capacity Building Program (PSCAP).[5] In 2007, Debretsion launched $1.5 billion infrastructure project with ZTE which expanded the network capacity to 30 million (from 6.5 million in 2007 and 1.35 million in 2001), constructed 10,000 km of fibre cable.[6][7] By 2012 Ethiopia had constructed 16,000 km of fibre cables and had voice cellular coverage at 64% of the country.[7] In 2012, Debretsion was appointed as the Minister of Communications and Information Technology. In 2012, Debretstion announced that a $1.6 billion deal had been reached with Huawei and ZTE to significantly expand the capacity of the communication infrastructure.[8] As of September 2016 project has been progressing on schedule.[9] 4G cellular service is now available in Addis Ababa. The ultimate goal of the project is to increase cellular coverage to 100% and to increase the capacity to 50 million.[10]

Debretsion was appointed as the Deputy Prime Minister for Finance and Economic Cluster in 2012. In 2015, Debretsion helped to launch a free trade zone with Sudan.[11] In 2015, he laid inaugurated the construction of the ICT park in Bole Lemi Industrial Park in Addis Ababa.[12] In 2017, he laid the cornerstone for the ICT park and stated that he wants to build more ICT parks in the regional states.[13]

Debretsion is the Board Chair of Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation.[2] In his role in the state owned electricity company, he oversaw the construction of billions of dollars of hydropower dams and electrical infrastructure, as well as service as the Board Chairman of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation for the Construction of GERD.[14]

In November 2017, Debretsion was elected to be the chairman of the TPLF.[15] In January 2018, he was also elected to become the Deputy President of Tigray Region. As Debretsion is not member of the Tigray Regional parliament, he could not become President. Nonetheless, as the post of the President became vacant, the Deputy President will be the President of Tigray Region in an acting capacity.[16]

References

  1. "Debretsion clinches top TPLF position". The Reporter. 29 November 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  2. 1 2 "Cyber crime: current and future threats". Archived from the original on 31 December 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  3. "Alpha Mission". Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  4. Tigabu, Tibebeselassie (18 December 2010). "Acquaintance with Minister Debretsion Gebremichael". Archived from the original on 31 March 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2013.
  5. "The Ethiopian Information and Communication Technology Development Agency (EICTDA)". ZUNIA Knowledge Exchange. Development Gateway. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  6. "Dramatic Network Modernization on the Roof of Africa". ZTE. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  7. 1 2 Adam, Lishan (2012). "What is Happening in ICT in Ethiopia: A supply and demand analysis of the ICT sector" (PDF). Research ICT Africa.
  8. Davison, William (12 October 2012). "ZTE, Huawei to Get Ethiopian Telecommunications Contracts". Bloomberg Technology. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  9. Fikade, Birhanu (10 September 2016). "Huawei to Hand Over Telecom Expansion Project". The Reporter. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  10. Maasho, Aaron (28 November 2013). "China's Huawei to roll out 4G service in Ethiopian capital". Reuters. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  11. Tekle, Tesfa-Alem (25 November 2015). "Ethiopia, Sudan approve to launch free trade zone". Sudan Tribune. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  12. "ICT Village Gets Inaugurated". Addis Fortune. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  13. Bekele, Kaleyesus (4 March 2017). "Local IT firm builds ICT Center with 480 million birr". The Reporter. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  14. "Ethiopia: GERD to Start Generating Power". Energy Central. 24 October 2017.
  15. "Change of guard". Horn Affairs English. 30 November 2017.
  16. "Dr Debretsion Geberemichael elected as Deputy Head (President) of Tigrai". Tigrai Online. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
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