Aklilu Habte-Wold was the son of a rural Ethiopian Orthodox priest from the Bulga district of Shewa province. He and his brothers, Makonnen Habte-Wold and Akalework Habte-Wold benefited from the patronage of Emperor Haile Selassie, who had them educated. Aklilu Habte-Wold attended the French lycee in Alexandria, then afterwards studied in France.
Upon returning to Ethiopia, Aklilu became the protégé of the powerful Tsehafi Taezaz (“Minister of the Pen”) Wolde Giyorgis Wolde Yohannes, another man of humble birth, who had become a powerful figure in Ethiopian government, and a close advisor to the Emperor, with his appointment as Tsehafi Taezaz. Wolde Giyorgis recommended the sons of Habte-Wold to the Emperor, who promoted them through the ranks so that the two eldest, Makonnen and Aklilu, became particularly influential with the monarch. Their humble origins, and the fact that they owed their education and advancement solely to the Emperor, allowed Emperor Haile Selassie to trust them implicitly and to favor them and other commoners of humble origin in government appointments and high positions at the expense of the aristocracy, whose loyalty to his person, rather than to the institution of Emperor he suspected. The Emperor’s preference for such men as Aklilu Habte-Wold over the high nobles created resentment among the aristocracy, who believed they were being displaced by these new western educated “technocrats”.
When Ethiopia was defeated in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Aklilu Habte-Wold was in France with his brother Makonnen; upon the defection of the head of the Ethiopian legation to France, Blatengeta Wolde Mariyam Ayele, Aklilu was made charge d’affairs. Aklilu lived in Paris and married a French woman, Collette Habte-Wold. With the fall of Paris in June 1940, Aklilu managed to escape on a forged passport, and with the help of the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs he was able to reach Cairo. Following the restoration in 1941, Aklilu served as a representative to the Peace conference after the end of World War II, then served as Foreign Minister. During this time, Aklilu played a key role in the complex process that brought Eritrea into federation with Ethiopia.
Following the fall from favor of Tsehafi Taezaz Wolde Giyorgis in 1958, the Emperor appointed Aklilu to replace him as Tsehafi Taezaz. In April 1961, four months after the previous Prime Minister Abebe Aragai had been killed in a failed coup, the Emperor promoted Aklilu Habte-Wold to that office, while retaining the powerful office of Tsehafi Taezaz in his portfolio. These two posts gave Aklilu a level of confidence with the Emperor that no one outside of the Imperial Family shared.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (Amharic: የኢትዮጵያ:ኦርቶዶክስ:ተዋሕዶ:ቤተ:ክርስቲያን; Yäityop’ya ortodoks täwahedo bétäkrestyan) is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian Churches. One of the few pre-colonial Christian Churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia. It is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria having gained autocephaly in 1959.
EOTC is now spread through out the world, congregates and numerous churches founded in UK, USA, CANADA, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, France, Germany, Sweden, India, Italy, Sudan, Ireland, Jamaica, Toronto, California, Dallas, Atlanta, Austria, Australia, China, Indonesia, Russia Lebanon and Cyprus