Media Statement

24 May 2017

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane congratulates former Ethiopian counterpart on his election as Director-General of the World Health Organisation

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane extends South Africa’s congratulations to the Ethiopian Government, on the election of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as the next Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland on 23 May 2017.

Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus was the endorsed African Union candidate and becomes the first African to lead the WHO since its establishment in 1948.

He is an experienced diplomat and health expert, having served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012, and has played leading roles in a number of national, regional and global processes and organisations dealing with sustainable development, financing for development as well as health and health emergencies.

The election of Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus comes at a crucial time for the WHO, in view of the impact of public health on the over-all achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Societies’ ability to deal with health challenges facing them, is a key component in realizing socio-economic development. African States in particular face numerous health burdens, which Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus have experienced first-hand and played a leading role in addressing.

South Africa believes Dr Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ election will not only support Africa’s development, but global development in general, leading to a more equal, healthy and prosperous world.

Enquiries: Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974


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