Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner is Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This is how he rose to lead his nation and quickly foster peace with Eritrea, ending 20 years of conflict.
Praised for the "important reforms" launched at home
It’s the story of a boy named “revolution” Abiyot who became the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Abiy Ahmed was born in Ethiopia in 1976 to an Oromo Muslim father and an Amhara Orthodox Christian mother. At 15, he joined the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front which was fighting the dictatorship at the time. He then joined the army and was sent as a blue helmet to Rwanda, following the Tutsi genocide. He occupied a position in telecommunications during the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
During the 2000s, he strove for a reconciliation between Muslims and Christians in Oromia, his native region. He got into politics in 2010 and was the minister of Science and Technology between 2015 and 2016. On April 2, 2018, he became Ethiopia’s prime minister, and began a push for gender parity within the cabinet. While in office, he reached out to his Eritrean counterpart, Isaias Afwerki. On July 9, 2018, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship.
At home, Abiy offered one political surprise after another. He released tens of thousands of prisoners, welcomed home once-banned opposition groups and acknowledged past abuses. People expressed themselves freely on social media, and he announced that Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020. The country has one of the world's few "gender-balanced" Cabinets and a female president, a rarity in Africa. And for the first time Ethiopia had no journalists in prison, media groups noted last year. The new prime minister also announced the opening-up of Ethiopia's tightly controlled economy, saying private investment would be welcome in major state-owned sectors — a process that continues slowly. This agreement put an end to 20 years of war that caused over 60,000 deaths.
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