Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali, is the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Award winner. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award him the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in achieving peace and international cooperation as well as his initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
Abiy wins the prize to beat out frontrunners such as Ilwad Elman, a 29-year old Somali who is one of the two young African women who had been tipped for the prize this year. Elman was nominated for her peacebuilding work in Somalia.
Abiy became prime minister in 2018. He is part Oromo – his father was Oromo and his mother was Amhara. Though they are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group representing at least 34.5% of Ethiopia's population, the Oromo people have been marginalised politically and culturally in the country. They have faced a series of documented human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings by Ethiopian government security forces, under successive regimes in Ethiopia.
As Prime Minister, Abiy has launched several political and economic reforms, some of which have not been well-received due to the massive changes they propose. The reforms include reviewing ethnic federalism in Ethiopia to pave way for constitutional reform. He has also championed for the role of women in politics, appointing women to half of the country's 20 ministerial posts, including the country's first female defence minister.
The Office of the Prime Minister tweeted it was the "pride of the nation".
Hearty congratulatory messages have been flowing in for the Prime Minister.
Statement from the committee: "When Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in April 2018, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. 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. These principles are set out in the declarations that Prime Minister Abiy and President Afwerki signed in Asmara and Jeddah last July and September. An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002.
"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."
Read the full statement here.
Header Image Credit: The National