The award, worth almost a million dollars, has been given to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He received the prize for his efforts in making peace with Eritrea after years of conflict and tensions.
Ethiopia and Eritrea restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility. The two sides fought a border war from 1998 to 2000.
The head of the committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said it was hoped that the prize would strengthen Abiy Ahmed “in his important work for peace and reconciliation.”
The citation also spoke of his efforts in helping restore diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Djibouti “after many years of political hostility” and in mediating between Kenya and Somalia in a dispute over marine territorial rights.
‘A collective win’
Abiy’s office said in a statement that Ethiopia was “proud as a nation” for the award, calling it a “collective win for all Ethiopians.”
The prize honors not just achievements but also intentions in the field of peacemaking. It is the 100th time the prize has been awarded.
Abiy, the youngest head of government in Africa at 43, was chosen for a list of 301 nominations that included 223 individuals and 78 organizations.
The prime minister is also known for several reforms on the domestic front, including allowing once-banned opposition groups to return home and acknowledging past abuses. He has also announced that there will be free and fair elections in 2020.
‘Fellowship among nations’
With the exception of the prize for economics, which is to be awarded next week, all the Nobel prizes were established by the Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-96), the inventor of dynamite.
According to Nobel himself, the peace prize should go “to the person who has done the most or best to advance fellowship among nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the establishment and promotion of peace congresses.”
The 2019 Nobel Prizes are each worth 9 million Swedish kronor (€831,235 $912,000).
Last year, the prize was awarded jointly to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.
All the Nobel prizes are presented on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel’s death, in the Swedish and Norwegian capitals.