Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has Been Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
The prize acknowledges his efforts to "achieve peace and international cooperation".
According to the BBC, there were 301 candidates, 223 individuals and 78 organizations, that were nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. In the running was Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and activists involved in the current Hong Kong protests. The prestigious Swedish academy has, however, awarded the prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, for the work he has done since taking up office in March of last year. Ahmed joins a number of notable Africans who've won the prize including South Africa's late former president Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the late Ghanaian former UN Secretary-General, Koffi Annan.
In a little over a year, Ahmed, who is the youngest head of government in Africa, has made significant changes within Ethiopia. After a two-decade long border conflict with Eritrea, Ahmed has smoothed over relations with the neighboring country and also committed to allowing multiparty elections to take place in Ethiopia where in the past, any political dissidents or critics of the government were thrown into jail. More recently, Ethiopia broke the world record for the most trees planted in a single day (350 million) as part of the "green legacy" initiative established by Ahmed back in May. Additionally, Ahmed also elected his cabinet, half of which were women, while the country obtained its first ever woman president in Sahle-Work Zewde. On the other hand, Ahmed's reforms, however, have lifted the lid on ethnic tensions within the country that have ultimately led to at least 2.9 million Ethiopians being displaced from their homes.
Responding to the recent announcement, Ahmed said that, "I am so 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 peace-building process in our continent."