Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Thunberg’s radicalism won’t save planet and other commentary

'Sleeping on the floor' Abiy has sought a role in shaping events across the Horn of Africa.

A month later he travelled to Eritrea's capital, Asmara, to meet with the country's president Isaias Afwerki.

At home, he has made sweeping changes to a long-repressive government.

When then-prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn abruptly resigned, many feared a power-struggle within the EPRDF, or even an unravelling of the coalition that would leave a risky vacuum. But Ethiopia's reforms do not appear to have inspired any in Eritrea, which has since closed border posts with its neighbor.

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is also the youngest head of government in Africa.

However, that was reversed in 1993 when Eritreans voted for independence. About 80,000 people died in a war between the two countries from 1998-2000.

Now hailed as a visionary and reformer, Abiy Ahmed still has his battles at home. "He released political prisoners and journalists, unbanned opposition groups and appointed women to his cabinet, all within a year of being in office". "He has also pledged to strengthen democracy by holding free and fair elections".

The rest of the world may be mired in speculation about his nomination or whether he is favorite to win, however, it is business as usual for the Prime Minister, according to his aide, Billene Seyoum. In a display of the brio that has won Abiy widespread admiration, the former military officer defused the situation by dropping to the floor and joining the troops in pushups.

An Ethiopian embassy worker in Tel Aviv, however, denied that any talk of deportations took place between Abiy and Netanyahu during his visit.

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Human rights groups welcomed the award, and refugee advocates praised Ethiopia for hosting more than 900,000 refugees from war-torn countries.

"This award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far", said a statement by Kumi Naidoo, secretary-general of Amnesty International. "Extremely unlikely", Henrik Urdal, director of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo (Prio), told AFP, citing her young age and a lack of consensus on how climate change relates to armed conflict.

Shortlists are not published, but all three were understood to be in the running. Predicting the victor is always a challenge since the Norwegian Nobel Committee never reveals the names of the nominees.

Yet the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize is not only for him, but for all 100 million Ethiopians and their far-flung diaspora who have taken part in Ethiopia's transformation from one of the poorest African countries to one of the most dynamic African economies.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee credited the 43-year-old with ending the two-decade-long conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea as they announced the award in Oslo on Friday night.

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

Achievements in Medicine, Physics and Chemistry have already been honoured and the Economics Prize will wrap up the 2019 Nobel prize season on October 14.

Two literature prizes were awarded Thursday: the 2018 prize went to Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk and the 2019 award was given to Austrian author Peter Handke.

He will be given a price of nine million Swedish crowns (Sh90, 000, 000).

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