OSLO, Oct 11 - Hailed as a visionary and reformer, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea. Abiy was honoured �for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea,� the Nobel Committee said.
The award is seen as a welcome boost for Africa�s youngest leader as he faces worrying inter-community violence ahead of a parliamentary election in May 2020.
�I was so humbled and thrilled when I just heard the news,� Abiy told the Nobel Committee in a phone call posted online on the Nobel Prize website. �It is a prize given to Africa, given to Ethiopia.�
Abiy also said he hoped it would inspire other African leaders to �think it possible to work on peace-building processes�.
Since taking office in April 2018, the 43-year-old has aggressively pursued policies that have the potential to upend society in the Horn of Africa nation and reshape dynamics beyond its borders, after years of civil unrest.
On July 9, 2018, following a historic meeting in Eritrea�s capital Asmara, Abiy and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki formally ended a 20-year-old stalemate between the countries in the wake of the 1998-2000 border conflict.
Abiy swiftly released dissidents from jail, apologised for state brutality, and welcomed home exiled armed groups. His actions have sparked optimism in a region of Africa marred by violence.
�I have said often that winds of hope are blowing ever stronger across Africa. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is one of the main reasons why,� UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.
The peace agreement with Eritrea has �opened up new opportunities for the region to enjoy security and stability,� and Abiy�s �leadership has set a wonderful example for others in and beyond Africa looking to overcome resistance from the past and put people first�. �AFP