The 2019 Nobel Peace has been awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ahmed was cited for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. The Norwegian Nobel Institute on Friday also praised the "important reforms" that Abiy, Ethiopia's leader since April 2018, has launched at home, the AP reports. Chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said some people may consider it too early to give him the prize, but "it is now that Abiy Ahmed's efforts need recognition and deserve encouragement."
Abiy, 43, took office after widespread protests pressured the longtime ruling coalition and hurt one of the world's fastest growing economies. He quickly announced dramatic reforms and "Abiymania" began. In a move that caused surprise in the long-turbulent Horn of Africa region, he said Ethiopia would accept a peace agreement with Eritrea, ending one of Africa's longest-running conflicts. 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. He announced that Ethiopia would hold free and fair elections in 2020. And for the first time, Ethiopia had no journalists in prison, media groups noted last year.
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