Ethiopia: Evangelical Prime Minister wins Nobel Peace Prize
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.
At 43 years old, Ahmed is Africa’s youngest leader. He made quick and deliberate efforts toward reform when he took office in April 2018. Most notably, last year, he signed a peace accord with President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, after decades of political stalemate and two years of violence that cost 80,000 lives along the border. The two countries have grown increasingly open to one another, with resumed air travel and telecommunications.
The prize announcement commended his leadership, saying he spent his first 100 days in office lifting 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. He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections.
As Joel News International previously reported, Ahmed also helped reconcile two branches of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which split for political reasons in 1991. He also fostered reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in his hometown of Beshasha. In another historic move last month Ahmed announced a tree-planting initiative, to outdo virtually any other country in the world. Ethiopia planted 350 million trees in one day, to combat deforestation and climate change.