Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced on Friday, “The Norwegian Nobel committee has decided to award the Nobel peace prize for 2019 to Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation and for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.”
During a high-level meeting at Ethiopia’s foreign ministry in July, officials were shocked by social media reports that their prime minister was visiting Eritrea.
No one in the room had been informed of Abiy Ahmed’s trip, his second since clinching a peace deal last year that ended two decades of hostility between the two neighbours.
“The foreign office was not in the loop,” said a senior official who was present. “We learned of it from the Eritrean media, on Facebook and Twitter.”
The surprise visit is typical of Abiy, who both fans and critics say often relies on bold personal initiatives and charisma to drive change instead of working through government institutions.
Nebiat Getachew, the foreign ministry spokesman, said policy was well co-ordinated but he did not confirm that Abiy had made the July trip without informing the ministry.
The deal with Eritrea won Abiy international plaudits. He was the bookmakers’ favourite to win a Nobel Peace Prize after climate activist Greta Thunberg.