The 43-year-Old Ethiopian Prime-minister Ahmed-Abey has been awarded the 2019 Nobel peace prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
The award announced today Friday is for his “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.” Ahmed worked with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on the peace agreement, to end the two-decade long conflict.
“An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002,” the Nobel Institute said in statement.
Ethiopia reached a peace deal with Eritrea last year, ending 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 worth nine million Swedish crowns (about £730,000; $900,000).
After becoming prime minister in April 2018, Mr Abiy introduced massive liberalizing reforms to Ethiopia, shaking up what was an extremely tightly controlled nation.
He freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home. Most importantly, he signed a peace deal with Ethiopia’s neighbor Eritrea, ending a two-decade conflict.
But his reforms also lifted the lid on Ethiopia’s ethnic tensions, and the resulting violence including the Chief of the General Staff of Ethiopian National Defense Force Seare Mekonen and forced some 2.5 million people from their homes.
A statement from the office of the Prime Minister Ahmed said since coming to power in 2018 he had made “peace, forgiveness and reconciliation key components of his administration.”
“This victory and recognition is a collective win for all Ethiopians, and a call to strengthen our resolve in making Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope – a prosperous nation for all,” the statement added.
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had been the favorite to win. Abiy Ahmed, elected leader in 2018, was the bookmakers’ second favorite to win. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also a contender, lauded for her response to the Christchurch shooting earlier this year.
This year’s peace prize was the 100th to be awarded. According to the Nobel Institute there were 301 nominees in the running for this year’s peace prize, the fourth highest on record. The record was 376 candidates in 2016. However, the list of nominees is only revealed 50 years after the prize is awarded.
Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and human rights activist Nadia Murad were joint winners in 2018 for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
There had been also great speculation over who would win the prize, with climate activist Greta Thunberg widely tipped as the favourite. Under the Nobel Foundation’s rules, nomination shortlists are not allowed to be published for 50 years.
The Express News