Ethiopian PM named Nobel Peace Prize winner

OSLO (Reuters) – Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his peacemaking efforts with Eritrea.

Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes who fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility.

The prize, worth nine million Swedish crowns, or around $900,000, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize 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 Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

Abiy was born in southern Ethiopia’s Jima Zone in 1976 to an Oromo Muslim father and an Amhara Christian mother.

He has several degrees, including a doctorate degree in peace and security issues from Addis Ababa University and a master’s degree in transformational leadership from the University of Greenwich, London.

As a teenager, he joined the armed struggle against the former Dergue regime and eventually rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, focusing on intelligence and communications services.

In 1995, he served as a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda.

During the 1998-2000 border dispute with Eritrea, he led a spy team on a reconnaissance mission into areas held by the Eritrean Defence Forces.

He joined politics in 2010, becoming a member of the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization, before being elected as a member of parliament.

His tenure in parliament coincided with clashes between Muslims and Christians. He devised a lasting solution to the problem by setting up a “Religious Forum for Peace”.

He is currently the youngest head of government in Africa.