Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy AhmedAbiy Ahmed's style can be compared to Donald Trump's
Abiy Ahmed's style can be compared to Donald Trump's Credit: Francisco Seco/AP

Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia became the first sitting black African leader to win the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, an award that will boost one of the continent’s few genuine reformers against his powerful domestic enemies. 

Passing over Greta Thunberg, the teenage environmentalist who had been odds-on favourite to secure the award, the Nobel Committee chose instead to bestow its highest honour on a peacemaker of a more traditional mould. 

三级成人视频Africa’s youngest leader was named this year’s laureate in recognition of “his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”, said Berit Reiss-Andersen, who chairs the Nobel Committee.

Within months of becoming prime minister in April last year, Mr Abiy, who is 43, dropped a longstanding Ethiopian claim to disputed border territory and flew into enemy territory to make Isaias Afwerki, Eritrea’s strongman ruler, an unconditional offer of permanent peace. 

三级成人视频The subsequent peace treaty ended a conflict that killed tens of thousands in brutal trench warfare during the active phase of hostilities from 1998 to 2000, flared up periodically thereafter and spread instability across the Horn of Africa.

三级成人视频The deal prompted jubilation in both countries with long-separated families being reunited after the deal saw the border reopened, phone and air links restored and diplomatic relations re-established.

The news will be received well at home Credit: REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

The Nobel Committee pointedly snubbed President Isaias, declining to offer him a share of the spoils.  In sharp contrast to Mr Abiy, who has released thousands of political prisoners and lifted a ban of opposition parties, the Eritrean president remains one of Africa’s most autocratic leaders.

He has also attracted international condemnation by sealing the border again and refusing to end a brutal system of national service that kept many young Eritreans locked in indefinite conscription in conditions activists liken to slave labour.

三级成人视频“The Eritrean government will be less than happy as it shows Isaias in a very poor light,” said Martin Plaut, a researcher at the Commonwealth Studies and the author of Understanding Eritrea: Inside Africa’s Most Repressive State. “But President Isaias has contributed next to nothing to the peace.”

While Eritrea’s tightly controlled media largely ignored the award, there was euphoria in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.

三级成人视频“This Nobel Prize is seen not only as recognition of Abiy’s efforts but also of the resilience of the Ethiopian people,” said Hallelujah Lulie, a political analyst in the city.

Mr Ahmed has had to remain nimble in order to navigate Ethiopia's complex and fragmented politics Credit: EDUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images

The most significant impact of Mr Abiy’s award is likely to be felt at home, where it could shore up his fragile domestic position三级成人视频. After decades of dictatorship, the prime minister bypassed the old-guard establishment in almost Trumpian style as he unleashed reforms at a breathtaking pace.

He earned plenty of enemies as a result, surviving an assassination attempt last year and putting down what he called a coup三级成人视频 during a brief but violent regional insurrection in June that led to the deaths of several government officials and the country’s army chief.

Powerful ethnic militias held in check under Mr Abiy’s authoritarian predecessors have also taken advantage of the laxer atmosphere to launch violent attacks against their rivals.

三级成人视频More than 1,000 people were killed last year and 3m fled their homes.

By winning the Nobel prize, the prime minister will enhance his credibility among his own people, Mr Plaut said, potentially making it more difficult to unseat him.

It should also boost his chances in an election next year. Ironically, the award could also place pressure on Mr Abiy to avoid the temptation of returning to repression in a bid to secure his position and rein in instability.

Some rights groups expressed concern after dozens of opposition activists and journalists accused of fanning ethnic tensions were arrested after June's violence.

三级成人视频“This award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far,” said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International.

Nelson Mandela is the only other black African leader to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but he won it a year before coming to office in 1994. He shared it with F.W de Klerk, South Africa's white president at the time.