By Samuel Gebre

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigned as the leader of one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies after failing to end months of unrest in the Oromia region.

 Hailemariam, 52, submitted his resignation to the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front on Thursday, the state-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported. His announcement comes days after the government said it would drop charges against top dissident Bekele Gerba and other opposition figures, and a month after he ordered the release of hundreds of political prisoners.
 “There have been efforts to dial back some of the problems that they’ve had, but the problems aren’t going away,” Abdullahi Boru Halakhe, East Africa researcher at Amnesty International, said in a phone interview. “Hailemariam doesn’t represent a big ethnic constituency within the party. The EPRDF has decided they’d rather lose him now than lose the whole country.”
 Ethiopia had seen sporadic, often deadly protests since late 2015 and temporarily enacted a state of emergency due to the unrest that was mainly in the central Oromia region. The violence damaged the country’s reputation as an investment destination and posed one of the biggest challenges to the ruling coalition since it came to power in the early 1990s.
 Yields on Ethiopia’s $1 billion Eurobonds due in 2024 climbed five basis points to 6.41 percent by 4:18 p.m. in the capital, Addis Ababa, to the highest level since August.

Hailemariam will remain in office until a peaceful transition has been arranged, Fana said.

First Published Bloomberg

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