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Nobel Peace Prize: Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed wins

The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who made peace last year with bitter foe Eritrea.

He was awarded the prize for his efforts to “achieve peace and international cooperation”.

Mr Abiy’s peace deal with Eritrea ended a 20-year military stalemate following their 1998-2000 border war.

He was named as the winner of the 100th Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, where he will receive the award in December.

It is worth some nine million Swedish crowns (about £730,000; $900,000).

The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has been named as the Nobel Peace Prize winner of 2019 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. 

A total of 301 candidates had been nominated for the prestigious award, including 223 individuals and 78 organisations

In the citation by the Committee, they state that this is for “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”. The committee is intentional and deliberate in also recognizing “all the stakeholders working for peace and reconciliation in Ethiopia and in the East and Northeast African regions”. 

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Following the announcement, Mr Abiy said he was “humbled and thrilled”.

“Thank you very much. It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia and I can imagine how the rest of Africa’s leaders will take it positively to work on [the] peace-building process on our continent,” he added in a phone call with the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


Listen to the call between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali and Olav Njølstad, Secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, recorded shortly after the announcement of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.


It is instructive to note that the Committee recognizes local and national reforms alongside this important cross border action by PM Ahmed. This recognition also comes despite the numerous challenges to peace that Ethiopia still faces , mainly through ethnic strife and increasing number of IDPs. 

They state that “He (PM Ahmed) spent his first 100 days as Prime Minister lifting the country’s state of emergency, granting amnesty to thousands of political prisoners, discontinuing media censorship, legalising 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”.

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Prime Minister Abiy’s efforts to assist other nations is also noted , including his role in pushing reconciliation between Eritrea and Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia and between the Sudan military and opposition. 

Prime Minister Abey joins that coveted list of African Nobel Peace laureates: 

1960 – Albert Luthuli (South Africa).
1978 – President Anwar El Sadat (Egypt).
1984 – Archbishop (Rtd) Desmond Tutu (South Africa). 
1993 – President Nelson Mandela (South Africa).
1993 – President F. W. De Clerk (South Africa). 
2001 – Kofi Annan (Ghana).
2004 – Hon. (Prof.) Wangari Maathai (Kenya). 
2005 – Mohammed El Baradei (Egypt).
2011 – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia).
2011 – Lehman Gbowee (Liberia).
2018 – Dr. Denis Mukwege (Democratic Republic of Congo). 

The committee’s closing statement brings it home : “The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that the Nobel Peace Prize will strengthen Prime Minister Abiy in his important work for peace and reconciliation. Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has East Africa’s largest economy. A peaceful, stable and successful Ethiopia will have many positive side-effects, and will help to strengthen fraternity among nations and peoples in the region. With the provisions of Alfred Nobel’s will firmly in mind, the Norwegian Nobel Committee sees Abiy Ahmed as the person who in the preceding year has done the most to deserve the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019”. 

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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