For his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, as well as his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict between Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea, Ethiopian Prime, Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Price for 2019 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments manufacturer Alfred Nobel. According to Nobel’s will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who in the preceding year “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”
The Prime Minister is the 12th winner from Africa to be awarded the prize. Last year, the prize was won by medical doctor Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Other African winners have included Albert Luthuli, Anwar al-Sadat, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and F.W. de Klerk, Kofi Annan, Wangari Maathai, Mohamed ElBaradei, Leymah Gbowee and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. In 2015, Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet won the Nobel peace prize.
This year, Abiy Ahmed is not the only person recognized by the committee. 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. The announcement was made Norwegian Nobel Committee after which a recording of the call between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and Olav Njølstad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which was released.
In April 2018, when Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister, he made it clear that he wished to resume peace talks with Eritrea. In the first few months of his administration, he freed thousands of political prisoners and journalists, whose arrests were widely perceived as a clampdown on opposition and free press.
Ahmed also reshuffled his cabinet to allow equal representation for women, appointing the first female supreme court president, and then an opposition leader as the Ethiopian electoral body’s chairwoman ahead of the country’s 2020 general elections. The 43-year-old also noted that he will willingly accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002.
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. A five-point declaration ended the state of war with a promise to restore trade, transport and telecommunication links and reopen embassies. With the principles, Ethiopian Airlines resumed flights to Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, on July 18 and citizens of both countries began obtaining visas on arrival, in stark contrast with what before had been a very difficult process.
Abiy has shown that he wants things to change in Ethiopia for good. In 2018, The Nerve Africa in its Yellow Wall listed Ahmed among the Africans that should inspire you in 2019 and the Nobel Peace Price has just proved to be a confirmation that Ethiopians and the rest of the world watches as the prime minister propagates change in the forms his reforms.