ADDIS ABABA — The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who helped end his country’s 20-year war with bitter foe Eritrea.
He was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
Announcing the prize in Oslo, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said Abiy’s “efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”
The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea over disputed border territory came at a huge financial and humanitarian cost for both countries.
Abiy, 43, also recently won plaudits for his role in helping to broker a power-sharing deal in neighboring Sudan after a political crisis that led to the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the country’s ruler for almost three decades.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said Abiy — who has received both praise and criticism for his reforms in Ethiopia — has not been recognized too soon, but acknowledged that progress still needs to be made in the country, according to CNN.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister, the 2019 Nobel peace Prize laureate, is receiving praise from leaders around the world.
Antonio Guterres, the UN General Secretary, said his leadership has set a “wonderful example” for the international community.
Congratulations to Prime Minister @AbiyAhmedAli of Ethiopia for being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 11, 2019
David Sassoli, the new president of the European Parliament, also praised the Ethiopian PM for giving “many citizens hope for a better life” and “promoting fundamental values of democracy and peace”.
Congratulations to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. His work and determination to end the conflict with Eritrea is immense. He initiated reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life, promoting fundamental values of democracy and peace. #NobelPeacePrize https://t.co/URVPDH69Qu
— David Sassoli (@EP_President) October 11, 2019
After becoming prime minister in April 2018, Mr Abiy introduced massive liberalising reforms to Ethiopia, shaking up what was a tightly controlled nation.
He freed thousands of opposition activists from jail and allowed exiled dissidents to return home. Under him, several women have also been appointed to prominent positions.
Most importantly, he signed the peace deal with Eritrea.
According to reports a total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organisations.
(With inputs from agencies)