Ethiopian Prime Minister wins Nobel Peace Prize
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been honoured with the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019, in recognition of his efforts to end his country’s long-running border conflict with Eritrea. The Norwegian Nobel Institute praised the “important reforms” carried out by Abiy, who has been in office since last year. Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but “it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement.”
The 43 year old came in power after widespread protests hovered over the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. His dramatic reforms were almost instantly placed into effect, thus beginning a new era for the African nation. In a daring move, he surprised the Horn of Africa region by saying Ethiopia would accept a peace agreement with Eritrea and with it, put an end to Africa’s longest-running conflicts.
Eritrea’s longtime leader who was moved by the action, visited Addis Ababa within weeks and communications and transport links were restored. Improving relations led to the United Nations lifting sanctions on Eritrea.
Another surprising move from Abiy, was the release of tens of thousands of prisoners, and welcoming of once-banned opposition groups. He also publicly acknowledged past abuses. He announced Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020, and the country now has one of the world’s fewest ‘gender-balanced’ Cabinets and in a fine rarity for Africa, a female president.
99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded since 1901, to individuals and 24 organizations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. 11 Nobel laureates have been awarded so far this week. The prize includes a $918,000 (9 million Kronor) cash award, a gold medal, and a diploma.