Governance News

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia won the Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve peace with neighboring Eritrea.A total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organisations.

Ethiopian President Sahle Work Zewde left and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took over from Hailemariam Desalegn in April 2018, Ethiopia has experienced a rapid pace of political reforms. So far, save for the unfortunate incidents of ethnic violence across the country, the changes made by the new administration have been nothing short of breathtaking.

Abiy was the second favorite to win after the climate change activist Greta Thunberg, according to bookmakers Betfair and William Hill.

Under Abiy’s leadership, a historic peace deal was reached with neighbouring Eritrea. At home, his administration has freed all political prisoners while also promising to reform some of the country’s harsh laws. Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes who fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Twitter

Why did he win?

The 43-year-old former army officer, has made reconciliation a priority since taking office in April 2018. He has also vowed to transform the country’s state-led economy by outlining a proposal for the partial privatisation of Ethiopia’s state enterprises. Privatisation would open up opportunities for competition, and raise funds for the country’s major development programs.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement that Mr Abiy was awarded for his “decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”

Most recently Abiy’s ongoing political reforms have included the recognition of Ethiopia’s female leaders. He has taken great strides to ensure that woman are represented in Ethiopia’s political landscape.

In the last few months Ethiopians have seen spectacular breakthroughs. These ranged from cabinet appointments to women being chosen as president, chief justice and press secretary to the prime minister. The prize, worth nine million Swedish crowns, or around $900,000, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.

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