Oct 11, 2019
By Jane Brown
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Abiy was cited for his efforts to achieve peace and international co-operation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chairperson of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Institute that awards the Nobel Peace Prize, said Abiy was named for his moves to end his country’s conflict with next door Eritrea within months of coming to office in 2018. He signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship with Eritrean Prime Minister Isaias Afwerki.
Within the Nobel Peace Prize there is a long history of prizes going to statesmen associated with ending conflicts, most recently Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos who was awarded the prize in 2016 for helping to bring his country’s 50 year civil war to an end.
Many Ethiopians are expressing joy with the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to their reformist prime minister and some are changing their social media profile pictures to that of Abiy Ahmed.
Even some who have pushed Abiy to do more are praising him.
Prominent activist Jawar Mohammed says the award is “well-deserved recognition for ending the senseless stalemate with Eritrea” and ending one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts.
But he adds that much work remains to ensure Ethiopia’s “peaceful and successful transition to democracy,” saying Abiy’s regional accomplishments depend on his own country’s internal peace.