Ethiopian legislators from both houses gathered Monday to open the new parliamentary year – its first in more than two decades without late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died August 20 – with a speech by President Girma Wolde-Giorgis, who outlined government priorities for the coming 12 months.
Noting that Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, the president warned that its double-digit inflation is having a severe impact on the lives of average people.
He also said the government's current economic policies are having a positive effect.
"Government has strictly followed its decision to limit the amount of money circulating in the economy and to not borrow to cover its budget deficit," said Girma, adding that government’s goal should be to lower the inflation rate to a single-digit number this year.
President Girma referred to the late prime minister many times, pledging to continue his policies and highlighting his successes.
"We are starting this session of our two houses of parliament with the successful completion of a fully democratic transition of power," he said. "This has been possible because of the system of the late Prime Minister Meles."
The Ethiopian parliament will debate the plans for the coming year Tuesday, with new Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Ruling coalition EPRDF holds all but one seat in parliament.