People wave Ethiopian flags in front of a giant billboard depicting the late prime minister, Meles Zenawi, at a public funeral ceremony for him in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Johannesburg - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was a builder of institutions, South African President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

“He took a leading role on Africa's negotiations on climate change, in peacemaking in Sudan and in the fight to bring stability back to Somalia.”

Zuma was speaking at Zenawi's funeral in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“Indeed, his legacy is defined by the sprawling city that Addis Ababa has become, the stability that Ethiopia enjoys and its new-found ability to provide food for its people,” said Zuma.

He said the policies of Zenawi’s party - the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front - and the government have delivered a sustained double-digit economic growth rate.

“As African leaders we are proud of Prime Minister Zenawi and the leadership he provided on issues affecting the continent, around the globe.”

Zuma further said he played an important role in the New Partnership for Africa Development (Nepad) Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee. He also formed an alliance between Ethiopia and South Africa to promote an African Renaissance.

“On behalf of the people and the government of the Republic of South Africa, I extend my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and to all the people of Ethiopia.” - Sapa