The choice of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali (PhD), as the recipient of the highly coveted Nobel Peace Prize, has brought special excitement and a sense of hope of a new beginning in Africa.
Abiy Ahmed’s election as Prime Minister in 2018 raised optimism in the continent, and his tireless efforts to bring about reconciliation and peace not only in his country, Ethiopia but also in the continent have brought new hope to many people.
As a Prime Minister, Dr Abiy, a 40-year-old young leader, has demonstrated that beyond age, he has a vision and values. He’s an iconic figure for Africans and the world, and an inspiration for millions of young people. His historic achievements, hard work and vision inspire hope among the youth.
In just over one year in office, Abiy has implemented staggering reforms, appointed a new cabinet made up of 50 per cent women, and supported the election Sahle-Work Zewde, as the first female President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Just three months after assuming office, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister held a historic meeting with the Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki and formally ended a 20 years old stalemate between the two countries – one of Africa’s most entrenched conflicts.
Professor Wangari Maathai, a Nobel Laureate who hailed from Kenya once observed that peace and security are a prerequisite for development and all human beings aspire and deserve them. She noted that for decades many African states have hardly enjoyed peace and security – they have suffered from lack of enlightened leadership.
Looking at the present state of Africa, and the leadership crisis in the continent, Abiy Ahmed stands out as a shining light, an inspirational force among young people and a new dawn for Africa’s transformation agenda.
Because of the myriad of challenges and untapped opportunities, Africans are searching for new voices, new ideas and new progressive leaders.
No doubt, the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. The continent is facing certain endemic problems that require a new kind of leadership that is authentic, courageous and intuitive.
Africa is yearning for leaders that are in touch with the needs of the society they govern. Putting the advancement of their citizens’ standards of living and basic human rights at the forefront of their agenda.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, as a transformative figure, has brought honour to Africa and set a positive example for many people especially the youth. The work that he has done and continues to do is bearing results and yielding progress in Ethiopia, Africa and beyond.
Like his fellow Nobelist, Barack Obama, Dr Abiy has been made a world-famous figure even before settling as a Prime Minister. For that reason, he should not view the award as a mark of accomplishment or a reward for work done. Noting the complex challenges that remain unresolved in Ethiopia and Africa, the prize should be a call to action – to invigorate the regional peace efforts and nurture new leadership in the continent.
With Africa’s large youth population, the Nobel Peace Prize to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed presents a great opportunity to influence the emergence of a new generation of leaders – an opportunity for developing leaders who can help the continent tackle the increasingly complex challenges.