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  • 14 October, 2019

  • 4 Min Read

Prize for peace

GS-IV: Prize for peace


The Norwegian Nobel Committee’ awarded this year’s Peace Prize to Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia.

Reasons for the prize:

  • It is a recognition of his efforts for peace in East Africa.
  • Mr. Abiy, became Prime Minister in April 2018 after his predecessor Hailemariam Desalegn resigned amid a political crisis and social unrest.
  • He has taken steps to politically stabilise the country and establish peace on its borders.

Conflict with Eritrea:

  • Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1991 and has fought a disastrous border war during 1998-2000 with its big neighbour.
  • It split thousands of families and killed about 80,000 people.
  • In Eritrea, the dictatorship used the prolonged border conflict as a convenient excuse for conscription and repression of its critics leading to a mass refugee outflow.
  • Mr. Abiy took steps to resume the stalled peace process. He led Ethiopia’s first state visit to Eritrea and met its President, Isaias Afwerki.

Reforms at home:

  • He also initiated reforms at home, such as lifting the ban on opposition political parties, releasing political prisoners and jailed journalists and removing media curbs.
  • Half of his Cabinet members are women and his government has welcomed the dissidents who were living in exile to return.

Challenges ahead:

  • His biggest challenge is to calm ethnic tensions in his conflict-ridden country.
  • Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic federation ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front with a tight grip.
  • Mr. Abiy has loosened this grip and called for a pan-Ethiopian identity and a freer economy and polity.
  • His reform agenda was challenged by ethno-nationalists both within and outside his party.
  • His government remained a spectator when ethnic violence was unleashed in several parts of the country over the past year, and sub-nationalisms emerged stronger.


Being a Nobel peace prize winner, he should come up with a national action plan to end violence, ease ethnic tensions and resettle the thousands displaced by the violence.


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