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Victory for the Horn: Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed
Nobel Peace Prize winner Abiy Ahmed

The Nobel Prizes are awarded to people “who have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind” in the previous twelve months, and is given in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. This year the Noble peace prize award has been conferred to Mr. Abiy Ahmed.

Abiy was elected as the Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April 2018. He introduced several liberalising reforms in an extremely controlled nation like Ethiopia, and was also successful in freeing thousands of opposition activists from jail, further allowing exiled dissidents to return home. For many years, Eritrean–Ethiopian border conflict remained a violent deadlock and a proxy conflict for both the nations. But, it was Prime Minister Aby’s effort that led to the signing of the peace deal with her neighbour Eritrea, which further brought an end to the two-decade conflict that existed between the countries. A “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” was signed that declared the end of the “state of war” that lasted from the year 1998 to 2000 – killing around 70,000 people. After the deal got signed, direct flights with an immediate effect (in the twenty years) took off between Ethiopia and Eritrea (Addis Ababa to Asmara).  Abiy worked for stable, prosperous and peaceful Africa and thus, has been the winner of 100th Nobel Peace Prize. He will receive the award in December 2019 – which is worth some nine million Swedish crowns ($900,000).

The Norwegian Nobel Committee mentioned that the Noble Peace Prize was primarily given to Abiy for his “decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea“. Further, the committee mentioned that the award also “recognizes recognise all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions”. PM Abiy Ahmed mentioned that this award is not only for him, but for the African continent, for Ethiopia and for its people. He also assured that seeing this, the rest of the African leaders will definitely commit to bring peaceful and cordial relations among nations in the Horn of Africa – as the region still considered to be one of the most turbulent and unstable corners of the world. Moreover, after normalising relations with Eretria, Abiy took initiative to bring peace and political transition for the betterment of the people in South Sudan too. He also tried to build better relations between Somalia and Kenya as maritime dispute exists between the two. More recently, after the expulsion of Omar al-Bashir, he also settled and negotiated the power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition alliance in Sudan. This remarkable process of peacemaking and bringing reforms has not been easy for Aby, despite that he coped up with success in a very short period. With this goodwill he should not stop here, rather keep encouraging his friends and foes to move Africa forward.

Moreover, after normalising relations with Eretria, Abiy took initiative to bring peace and political transition for the betterment of the people in South Sudan too. He also tried to build better relations between Somalia and Kenya as maritime dispute exists between the two. More recently, after the expulsion of Omar al-Bashir, he also settled and negotiated the power-sharing deal between the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the opposition alliance in Sudan. This remarkable process of peacemaking and bringing reforms has not been easy for Aby, despite that he coped up with success in a very short period. With this goodwill he should not stop here, rather keep encouraging his friends and foes to move Africa forward.

Dr. Neha Sinha

Associate Fellow at VIF
Neha Sinha is working as an Associate Fellow in VIF. She did her Graduation and Masters in Political Science from Delhi University. She has a specialisation in the African region and has completed her MPhil. and PhD from the Center for African Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi India.

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