The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. The 43-year-old politician has been conferred with the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve his country’s conflict with bitter rival Eritrea.
Under his leadership, Ethiopia struck a peace agreement with Eritrea in 2018 bring an end to a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war. The prize carries nine million Swedish crowns (about $900,000). He will be awarded the prize money and citation in December at an event in Oslo.
A tweet by the Nobel Prize said, “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.”
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 11, 2019
The Nobel Committee said that the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize is also meant to recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions. “In close cooperation with Isaias Afwerki, the President of Eritrea, this year’s Peace Laureate Abiy Ahmed quickly worked out the principles of a peace agreement to end the long “no peace, no war” stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea,” it said.
A total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organisations.
A statement from the Nobel Committee said, “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.”
It added, “In Ethiopia, even if much work remains, Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future. He spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising outlawed opposition groups, dismissing military and civilian leaders who were suspected of corruption, and significantly increasing the influence of women in Ethiopian political and community life. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that it hoped that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second-most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.