Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Institute that awards the prize, said Mr Ahmed was recognised for his efforts to achieve peace and international co-operation, and in particular “for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.
She said Mr Ahmed, 43, has initiated important reforms that give many citizens in his country “hope for a better life and a brighter future”.
His efforts deserve recognition, she said, and it is hoped the awarding of the peace prize will strengthen Mr Ahmed’s position “in his important work for peace and reconciliation”.
The award, the 100th Nobel Peace Prize, reflects the committee’s taste for trying to encourage works in progress.
Mr Ahmed said he was “humbled and thrilled” to have been honoured.
In a call with the Nobel committee, he said he hopes the award will be taken “positively” by other African leaders “to work on the peace-building process on our continent”.
Amnesty International secretary Kumi Naidoo said in a statement that the award must “push and motivate” Mr Ahmed “to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far”.
He added: “He must urgently ensure that his government addresses the ongoing ethnic tensions that threaten instability and further human rights abuses.”
Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said in a tweet that Mr Ahmed has “demonstrated that with patience, courage and conviction, peace is possible”.
Jan Egeland, the secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, said Mr Ahmed is Africa’s youngest leader who made peace with Eritrea after almost 20 years of hostilities, released political prisoners and journalists, lifted bans on opposition groups and appointed women to his cabinet – all within a year of being in office.
But Mr Egeland added Mr Ahmed “must now make resolving ethnic tensions within Ethiopia a priority and work tirelessly to bring peace to his people”.