“I am so humbled and thrilled… thank you very much. It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia, and I can imagine how the rest of Africa’s leaders will take it positively to work on the peace- building process in our continent”. -Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmad.
These were the words of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia shortly after he was announced the winner of this year’s Nobel Peace award in Oslo, Norway.
The African continent encompasses a rich mosaic of peoples, cultures, ecological settings, and historical experiences. It’s also a land of contradictions, ranging from wars, disease, poverty sit tight- rulers etc. However, there are a number of promising leaders working seriously to change the narratives as well as setting the pace .The Norwegian Nobel committee has awarded the historic 100th Nobel Peace prize to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmad Ali, for what it described “his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation “ and for his decisive initiative to end the long- running military stalemate with neighboring Eritrea.
The Prime Minister had surprised Ethiopians by taking actions no one had thought possible: he opened up the political space, released thousands of political prisoners, invited members of political groups previously designated as terrorists lifting emergency rule, appointed women to powerful positions, to mention just a few.
Born August 15, 1976 in western Ethiopia from the Oromo clan, a cyber intelligence service, he entered politics eight years ago and rose rapidly as the 4th Prime Minister, of Ethiopia, and he is performing wonderfully.
And most recently, he brokered a peace deal in the Sudan crisis that removed long term ruler Omar al- Bashir. Indeed, this is a signal and pathway to a progressive and peaceful coexistence in one of the volatile and unstable region in Africa.
It also indicates his critical role in building long- term peace in the war- torn Horn of Africa region. Prime Minister Ahmad has made important breakthroughs in deeply protracted conflicts. The 1998- 2000 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea was devastating, with an estimated 100, 000 deaths and generation of developmental potential squandered.
According to the London Guardian, that one of Ahmad Abiy’s biggest achievements since coming to power in April last year was the pace deal signed three months later, which ended a nearly 20- year military stalemate with Eritrea.
The important lesson for the Prime Minister Ahmad Abiy’s Nobel award is to sustain the peace in the region and institutionalized these efforts. The rest of Africa’s leaders should also imbibe the culture of inclusiveness, justice and fairness amongst its citizens and promoting peace with its neighbours.
Abdullateef Tanko, Chair, Smile- Face Global Peace Initiative