One of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s biggest victories was the peace deal he brokered with neighbor Eritrea. The deal, signed in July last year, ended a nearly 20-year military stalemate with Eritrea following their 1998-2000 border war.
Asle Sveen, a historian who has written several books about the Nobel Peace Prize, told Reuters the deal made Abiy exactly the kind of candidate Alfred Nobel had envisaged for the prize.
“The peace deal has ended a long conflict with Eritrea, and he is very popular for having done this, and he is doing democratic reforms internally,” Sveen said.
When Ahmed took office in April 2018, he freed political prisoners and went on to sign a peace agreement with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki, indicating that Ethiopia would accept the border and he would hand over disputed land territories. Since taking power, Ahmed has also championed the role of women in politics — he appointed women to half of the government’s 20 ministerial posts, including the country’s first female defense minister.
British oddsmaker Ladbrokes offers odds of 4/1 for the Ethiopian Prime Minister to win.
His chief competition is expected to come from 16-year-old climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.
Thunberg has become famous for her speeches and protests over climate inaction. Her protests began in August 2018 with a school strike outside the Swedish Parliament. Little more than a year later, an estimated four million people joined the teenager in a global strike on Sept. 20 — with activists, many of them schoolchildren, joining the protests from Thailand to Afghanistan to Haiti. A few days later, at the Climate Change summit, she condemned world leaders for their lack of action in halting climate change.
Many conservatives see her as divisive and controversial and oddsmakers say this threatens her chances. If Thunberg wins, she’d be the youngest Nobel winner in history. Malala Yousafzai, who won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, currently holds that distinction.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, Brazilian indigenous chief, Raoni Metuktire who has spent his life protecting the Amazon rainforest and Reporters Without Borders are believed to be some of the others groups and individuals being considered for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
There is a total of 301 nominees for the award. The Nobel committee will announce the 2019 winner on Friday.