Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins 2019 Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmedat at the National Palace in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 2018.

Minasse Wondimu Hailu | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to achieve peace with neighboring Eritrea.

He was awarded the prize Friday for his “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea.” Ahmed worked with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki on the peace agreement, to end the two-decade long conflict.

“An important premise for the breakthrough was Abiy Ahmed’s unconditional willingness to accept the arbitration ruling of an international boundary commission in 2002,” the Nobel Institute said in statement.

During Ahmed’s first 100 days as prime minister he has also lifted “the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalizing 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.”

A statement from the office of the Prime Minister Ahmed said since coming to power in 2018 he had made “peace, forgiveness and reconciliation key components of his administration.”

“This victory and recognition is a collective win for all Ethiopians, and a call to strengthen our resolve in making Ethiopia – the New Horizon of Hope – a prosperous nation for all,” the statement added.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg had been the favorite to win. Abiy Ahmed, elected leader in 2018, was the bookmakers’ second favorite to win. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also a contender, lauded for her response to the Christchurch shooting earlier this year.

This year’s peace prize was the 100th to be awarded. According to the Nobel Institute there were 301 nominees in the running for this year’s peace prize, the fourth highest on record. The record was 376 candidates in 2016. However, the list of nominees is only revealed 50 years after the prize is awarded.

Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege and human rights activist Nadia Murad were joint winners in 2018 for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.

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