Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”
The Nobel committee said during its announcement Friday that the coveted prize was also meant to recognize all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
Abiy, 42, made peace with Eritrea President Isaias Afwerki last year that ended 20 years of the “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries, which fought a border war from 1998 to 2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people from both sides. The two leaders have been praised for their vision, courage and statesmanship to end war and bring about peace between their two countries.
It was the emergence of Abiy as Ethiopian Prime Minister that dramatically changed the relations between the two countries, culminating in the normalisation of ties.
Another major achievement of Prime Minister Abiy is the relaxation of the political tension in Ethiopia, which he did by releasing political prisoners, instituting reforms and bringing more freedom to the country.
“Even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections,” the Nobel committee said.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation.”
Abiy Ahmed was sworn into office on 1 April 2018 shortly after his election by the parliament to become Africa’s second-most populous country’s 16th prime minister and the first Oromo and Muslim to hold Ethiopia’s top seat.