Maryland Names Ethiopian American to Commission on African Affairs

Above: “Gov. Martin O’Malley has created a new commission
to help business and community development interests of
African immigrants who have come to Maryland.” (AP)

Tadias Magazine
By Tadias Staff

Published: Sunday, May 17, 2009

New York (Tadias) – An Ethiopian American has been appointed to serve on Maryland’s newly established commission to assist “the business and community development interests” of the state’s growing African immigrant population.

Governor Martin O’Malley signed an executive order establishing the Commission last week and swore in 21 members of the body, including Ethiopian American Yonnas K. Kefle, an adjunct professor of economics at Frederick Community College.

The primary objective of the commission is to increase Maryland’s outreach to its residents who have immigrated from African countries, similar to the state’s other commissions handling the affairs of Hispanic, Asian, and Middle Eastern communities.

Since 1990, the African population has more than tripled in places such as greater Washington, including its Maryland suburbs. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics there are close to one million African immigrants in the United States, with the largest communities residing in U.S. urban cities including New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Seattle, Minneapolis, and in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. More than half of the African-born population came to the United States between 1990 and 2000. According to the Brookings Institution, estimates of the African-born population has soared past 130,000 in each city, with recent census data showing forty three percent of Africans in the U.S. as having college degrees. Ethiopian Americans, as a segment of the new immigrant population, comprise the top three African populations in America.

Valentina Ukwuoma, the head of the Bureau of Solid Waste for the Baltimore City Department of Public Works, has been named chair of the commission.

2 Responses to “Maryland Names Ethiopian American to Commission on African Affairs”

  1. 1 eyob May 17th, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Congratulations to Prof. Yonas Kifle. May God help you overcome the challenges ahead of you.

  2. 2 Bruktatit H. May 17th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Great initiative by Maryland’s Governor. But is there a program to foster understanding between the diffrent communities? Good luck to the commission on the hard work that awaits you!


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