Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali is the winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Ethiopian leader won the prestigious Award 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 prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions.
On 2 April 2018, Abiy was elected as Prime Minister of Ethiopia by the House of Representatives, following the resignation of his predecessor, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe who had served from 2012.
“With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019,” the Committee that selects the recipients of the Award said.
“When Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea,” the citation for the Award reads partly.
“In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between the two countries”.
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 citation further states.
“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 said it hopes the peace agreement will help to bring about positive change for the entire populations of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Since 1901, 99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out to individuals and 24 organisations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Abiy Ahmed is credited credited for initiating important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future.
Among these reforms is 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, all in his first a hundred days in office.
“He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections”.
Prime Minister Abiy is also commanded for engaging in other peace and reconciliation processes in East and Northeast Africa. In September 2018 he and his government contributed actively to the normalisation of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti after many years of political hostility.
“Additionally, Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict”.
“In Sudan, the military regime and the opposition have returned to the negotiating table. On the 17th of August, they released a joint draft of a new constitution intended to secure a peaceful transition to civil rule in the country. Prime Minister Abiy played a key role in the process that led to the agreement”.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation.
The committee observed that being Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy, a peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region.