NEWS
11/10/2019 10:06 BST | Updated 11/10/2019 11:11 BST

2019 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Is Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

His peace-making efforts with Eritrea have been commended.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia has won 2019′s prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for his peace making efforts with Eritrea

He joins the ranks of previous winners including Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev. 

Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes who fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility. At 43, Ahmed is the youngest head of government in Africa.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chairwoman of the five-member Norwegian Nobel Institute that awards the prize, said Ahmed was recognised for his efforts to achieve peace and international co-operation, and in particular “for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.

Tiksa Negeri / Reuters
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at a news conference at his office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia August 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

She said Ahmed has initiated important reforms that give many citizens in his country “hope for a better life and a brighter future”.

His efforts deserve recognition, she said, and it is hoped the awarding of the peace prize will strengthen Ahmed’s position “in his important work for peace and reconciliation”.

Other names in the running for this year’s prize included 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; and activists in Hong Kong.

The United Nations’ World Food Program, or the joint leadership of two prime ministers — Greece’s Alexis Tsipras and North Macedonia’s Zoran Zaev — who brought an end to 30 years of acrimony between their nations, where also hinted at.

Since 1901, 99 Nobel Peace Prizes have been handed out, to individuals and 24 organisations. While the other prizes are announced in Stockholm, the peace prize is awarded in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

So far this week, 11 Nobel laureates have been named, of whom 10 are men.

Two literature prizes were awarded Thursday: One for 2018 that went to Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and one for 2019 that was given to Austrian author Peter Handke.

HENRIK MONTGOMERY via Getty Images
A bust of Nobel Prize founder, Alfred Nobel displayed at the Concert Hall in Stockholm, Sweden

The chemistry prize went to three scientists for their work leading to the development of lithium-ion batteries; the physics award was given to a Canadian-American and two Swiss for exploring the evolution of the universe and discovering a new kind of planet; and the physiology or medicine award went to two Americans and one British scientist for discovering details of how the body’s cells sense and react to low oxygen levels.

In his will, Alfred Nobel, the Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite, decided the peace prize should be awarded in Oslo. His exact reasons for having an institution in Norway handing out that prize is unclear, but during his lifetime Sweden and Norway were joined in a union, which was dissolved in 1905.

The economics prize wasn’t created by Nobel, but by Sweden’s central bank in 1968. It is awarded Monday.

With the glory comes a 9-million kronor ($918,000) cash award, a gold medal and a diploma. Even though the peace prize is awarded in Norway, the amount is denominated in Swedish kronor.

The laureates receive them at elegant ceremonies on December 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896 — in Stockholm and Oslo.