Abiy Ahmed, Ethiopia’s prime minister, wins 2019 Nobel peace prize

The prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, who forged a peace deal with Eritrea last year, has won the 2019 Nobel peace prize.

Mr Abiy’s peace deal with Eritrea ended a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war.

He was named as the winner of the 100th Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, where he will receive the award in December.

It is worth some nine million Swedish crowns (about £730,000; $900,000).

The award recognised Abiy’s “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”, said Berit Reiss-Andersen, the Norwegian Nobel committee’s chair.

Abiy has also pushed through reforms at home, dramatically changing the atmosphere in what was regarded as a repressive state. His public renunciation of past abuses drew a line between his administration and those of his predecessors, as did the appointment of former dissidents and large numbers of women to senior roles.

Following the announcement, Mr Abiy said he was “humbled and thrilled”.

“Thank you very much. It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia and I can imagine how the rest of Africa’s leaders will take it positively to work on [the] peace-building process on our continent,” he added in a phone call with the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Other figures who were considered in the running for this year’s prize included the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.

Ninety-nine Nobel peace prizes have been awarded since 1901, to individuals and 24 organisations. While the other Nobel prize laureates are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Abiy, 43, a former military officer specialising in cyber intelligence, has forged a reputation as a daring leader prepared to take risks to tackle decades-old problems.

“Peace does not arise from the actions of one party alone. When Prime Minister Abiy reached out his hand, President Afwerki grasped it, and helped to formalise the peace process between the two countries. The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.”

Since the Eritrea deal, Mr Abiy – the youngest head of government in Africa – has also been involved in peace processes in other African countries, the committee said. This has included helping to broker an agreement between Sudan’s military leaders and civilian opposition after months of protests.

Mr Abiy’s office said the award was testimony “to the ideals of unity, cooperation and mutual coexistence that the prime minister has been consistently championing”.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: