Birthday: August 15, 1976
Nobel Peace Prize
Age: 43 Years, 43 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Abiy Ahmed Ali
Born Country: Ethiopia
Born in: Beshasha, Ethiopia
Famous as: Prime Minister of Ethiopia
political ideology: Oromo Democratic Party
Spouse/Ex-: Zinash Tayachew
father: Ahmed Ali
mother: Tezeta Wolde
education: Institute for Peace and Security Studies, International Leadership Institute, Microlink Information Technology College, University of Greenwich, Ashland University
awards: Nobel Peace Prize
Abiy Ahmed, born as Abiy Ahmed Ali, is the current serving Prime Minister of Ethiopia who assumed the office in 2018. He made a slew of political decisions that included releasing thousands of prisoners, unblocking numerous TV channels and websites, and allowing exiled non-conformists a safe return home, within the first few months of his tenure. Acting as the catalyst to facilitate a peace deal between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and ending a 20-year deadlock, Abiy Ahmed’s work was recognized on the global platform when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019. Although there is still much to be done in Ethiopia, Abiy’s reforms are an evidence of his strength in leadership and his political will to avoid unrest within the country. Being physically active, vocal about his thoughts and projecting the persona of a true believer in equality, are perhaps what best define the character of this African political stalwart, and with it send a strong message to the world that positive change can drive Ethiopia towards development and inclusivity.
Childhood & Early Life
Abiy Ahmed was born in Beshasha, a town in Ethiopia’s Kaffa province, on 15 August 1976, to Tezeta Wolde and Ahmed Ali.
Tezeta, an Orthodox Christian belonging to the ethnic Amhara group was the fourth wife of Ahmed, an Oromo Muslim. Abiy was Tezeta’s 6th child and Ahmed’s 13th child .
In his childhood, he was called Abiyot which means ‘Revolution’ and took a keen interest in education. He attended local primary and secondary schools in Agaro.
Abiy graduated in computer engineering from Addis Ababa’s Microlink Information Technology College in 2001, while he was with the Ethiopian National Defense Force.
In 2011, Abiy Ahmed did his MA in Transformational Leadership from London’s Greenwich University in partnership with Addis Ababa’s International Leadership Institute, and earned an MBA in 2013 from Ashland University in collaboration with the Leadstar College of Management and Leadership.
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Prior to receiving formal military training from the Assefa Brigade and being posted in West Wollega in the communications and intelligence department, Abiy Ahmed was a member of the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) and had taken part in the struggle against Mengistu Haile Mariam’s regime.
In 1993, he served as a soldier in the Ethiopian Defense Forces before being deployed to Rwanda in 1995 as part of United Nations Peace Keeping Force.
He continued working for the Defense Forces and co-founded INSA, the Information Network Security Agency of Ethiopia, in 2008, where he held several positions including that of acting director for a span of two years.
Abiy left the military in 2010, to join active politics. Starting out as a member of the ODP, he soon became part of the executive committee of Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).
Soon after being elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2010, he was given the responsibility to set up the ‘Religious Forum for Peace’. The forum played a pivotal role in restoring peaceful interaction in the Christian-Muslim community.
In 2014, he became the Director General of STIC (Science and Technology Information Centre) and the following year, he was re-elected MP from his home district of Gomma. His fight against the brutal land grabbing activities, brought him to the forefront, establishing him as both a brave and decisive leader.
He became Ethiopia’s Minister of Science and Technology in October 2015 and continued to serve in several high office posts, till he succeeded Hailemariam Desalegn as the Chairman of the EPRDF.
He became the Prime Minister of Ethiopia on the 2 April 2018.
As Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, one of his first decisions was to free more than 7600 prisoners, including Andargachew Tsege, the leader of opposition party Ginbot 7. Additionally, he opened possibilities for exiled dissidents to return home, through amendments in the country’s anti-terrorism laws.
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On 4 June 2018, the Parliament accepted Abiy’s request to lift the state of emergency four months into the stipulated 6-month period, taking into light the improved domestic situation in the country.
He announced the idea of setting up an Ethiopian stock exchange while opening previously state-owned industries for private partnerships in a bid to boost the country’s economy.
He began replacing corrupt officials in top ranks, which led to a grenade attack on him on June 23, 2018; one that he narrowly escaped.
On 9 July 2018, he declared an end to the 20-year war between Ethiopia and Eritrea, reopening the borders between the two countries on 11 September 2018. He has tirelessly worked towards bringing peace to neighboring countries of Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan.
In October 2018, he reshuffled the cabinet ministry to include 50% women and toned down the cabinet from 28 to 20 ministers.
Awards & Achievements
Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa, the highest civilian award of the Uganda on 9th June 2018.
He was conferred the Order of the Zayed Medal by The UAE Crown Prince on 24th July 2018.
He received the Order of King Abdulaziz award from Saudi Arabia on 16th September 2018.
He featured in the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2018 in Time Magazine and earned the ‘African of the Year’ title on 15th December 2018.
He received the 2019 UNESCO Peace Prize & the Peace Award from Ethiopian Muslim Community in May 2019.
On 11 October 2019, Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize by Berit Reiss-Andersen of the Nobel Committee.
Family & Personal Life
Abiy Ahmed is married to Zinash Tayachew. She also served in the Ethiopian Defense Forces, alongside Abiy. They have three daughters together, called Deborah, Rakeb and Amen. In August 2018, the couple adopted a son named Million, who was 15-days old at that time.
A polyglot, Abiy can speak English, Tigrinya, Amharic and Afaan Oromo.
He is a devoted Christian and strongly believes in being organized and keeping mentally and physically fit.