Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.
Though Africa’s youngest leader still faces big challenges, he has in under two years in power begun political and economic reforms that promise a better life for many in impoverished Ethiopia.
Abiy has also restored ties with Eritrea that had been frozen since a 1998-2000 border war.
“I am so humble and thrilled … It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia,” Abiy Ahmed said in a recorded phone call with the secretary of the award committee that was posted online on Friday.
Abiy was meeting Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok when he was informed he had won the prize, Abiy’s spokeswoman said.
The Nobel Committee said Abiy had won the prestigious prize for “efforts to achieve peace and international co-operation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.
News of the award trickled slowly down to the streets of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Bisrat Hadte, a 45-year-old businessman, said he was glad but the government still had much to do to improve daily life in the country of about 100 million.
“The prime minister also has to work on to improve the economy and drive down the cost of living,” he said.