Ketema Yifru

Ketema Yifru (12 December 1929 – 14 January 1994) was a prominent Ethiopian diplomat and politician.

Born by the slopes of Mount Gara Muleta, Harerghe province of Eastern Ethiopia, Ketema rose to the highest levels of Emperor Haile Selassie's government, including Foreign Minister between 1961 and 1970. He was a son of a farmer in rural Gara Muleta. He was among the very few young Ethiopians of farmer family background to rise to the position of high government rank through his educational achievement. He played an important role in the forming of the Organization of African Unity, the predecessor of the present-day African Union.

Ketema also served in several ministries in the Aklilu Habte-Wold government. He was imprisoned without charge by the Derg regime for eight years. Following his release, Ketema Yifru accepted a senior position with the United Nations agency, the World Food Programme. He died on January 14, 1994, in Addis Ababa, from pancreatic cancer. He was survived by his widow, Woizero Rahel Senegiorgis, and their four sons.



  • Aberra Jembere: "Kätäma Yefru", in: S. Uhlig (ed.): Encyclopaedia Aethiopica, vol. 3 (2007).


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