Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Ahmed helped end the country's 20-year war with Eritrea

Abiy Ahmed
Ahmed was awarded the prize for his efforts in restoring peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea
Minasse Wondimu Hailu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The Prime Minister, who took office in April 2018, received the award in recognition for his efforts in ending the 20-year conflict between his country and Eritrea.

“Abiy Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens hope for a better life and a brighter future,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, according to the New York Times.

A peace accord between Ahmed and Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki ended a two-decade conflict between the two nations over disputed border territory. The 20-year dispute carried massive financial and humanitarian costs for both countries.

Ahmed’s list of accomplishments in his relatively short time since taking office also include lifting the country’s state of emergency, initiating the release of thousands of political prisoners, lifting bans on various political organizations and prosecuting former officials accused of torture. According to the Washington Post, Ahmed plans to initiate Ethiopia’s first free, multiparty elections in 2020.

“This victory and recognition is a collective win for Ethiopians, and a call to strengthen our resolve in making Ethi­o­pia — the New Horizon of Hope — a prosperous nation for all,” said Abiy’s office in a statement.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, acknowledged that some critics may question whether the prize was awarded too early, both in Ahmed’s term and in the nations’ era of peace.

“No doubt some people will think this year’s prize is being awarded too early,” said Reiss-Andersen. “The Norwegian Nobel Committee believes it is now that Abiy Ahmed’s efforts deserve recognition and need encouragement.”

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