Biography of Hailemariam Desalegne

QuestionsQuick  Information
NameHailemariam Desalegne
BornJuly 19, 1965 (47) 
In Office Aug. 20, 2012 - Present
TitlePrime Minister 
Religion Protestant Christian
SpouseMarried to Roman Tesfaye
ChildrenThree: Johanna (22),  the rest unknown
EthnicityWelayta Ethnic Group
Languages Welaytta, Amharic, and English

Present Political Positions

Hailemariam Desalegn is an Ethiopian politician and the acting Prime Minister of Ethiopia. He formerly served as the country's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister from 2010 until August 2012. Following the death of Meles Zenawi, who passed away from complications of liver cancer in Brussels, Belgium on August 20, 2012, the Council of Ministers appointed Hailemariam as the country's temporary successor. 

Early Childhood

Described as a timid and short-tempered individual by his childhood friends, Hailemariam was born on July 19, 1965 in the Welayta district of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region of Ethiopia. He spent most of his youth playing football and assisting his father, Desalegne, with the family business.Upon entering high school, Hailmariam joined political youth group representing the former military junta, Mengiustu Hailemariam.

Hailemariam's Education

Hailemariam obtained a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Addis Ababa University in 1988. He subsequently worked as a graduate assistant in Arba Minch University. Shortly after, he obtained a scholarship to attend Tampere University of Technology in Finland and achieved a masters degree in sanitation engineering. Upon his return to Ethiopia, he served in a number of academic and administrative positions, including the dean of the Water Technology Institute for over a decade.

Hailemariam's family

Hailemariam married his longtime girlfriend, Roman Tesfaye, in 1989. Like her husband, Roman was born in southern Ethiopia and has a lengthy educational and political background. She has two Masters Degrees in leadership and economics from local universities. Prior to her current job at the African Union, She was an advisor for the people of South region and was on the human rights commission of Ethiopia. The couple have three daughters, with 22-year-old Joanna being the eldest of the three.

Acting Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegne -
Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA
Roman Tesfaye, Hailemariam Desalegne's wife

Johanna Hailemariam, daughter of Hailemariam
Desalegne - Credit: De Birhan