The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019 to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.
The committee cited Mr. Abiy’s efforts to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea as well as his overall effort to achieve international peace and cooperation as the main reasons for honoring him.
Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes who fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility.
“Abiy Ahmed has sought to mediate between Kenya and Somalia in their protracted conflict over rights to a disputed marine area. There is now hope for a resolution to this conflict,” the Nobel Committee said in a statement.
The committee also mentioned Abiy’s efforts in brokering the South Sudan peace deal.
However, he does have his critics. Many of them say the Ethiopian leader relies on bold personal initiatives and charisma to drive change instead of working through government institutions.
And ethnic clashes including in his native Oromiya region have however undermined Mr. Abiy’s record at home
“None of Abiy’s promised transformational reforms are going to have any solid foundations unless he works through the institutions,” said Comfort Ero, Africa program director at the International Crisis Group think tank.
“In the first six or seven months, he undercut the institutions … The institutions were either not working or working against his agenda,” said Jawar Mohammed, an Oromo activist and informal adviser to the prime minister.
The Nobel Prize, worth around $900,000, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.