Ethiopia: Laureate's Reception

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was warmly welcomed and congratulated by his cabinet members and others ministers, including Hirut Zemene, state minister for Foreign Affairs, Ergoge Tesfaye (PhD)(middle), minister of Labor & Social Affairs, and Hirut Woldemariam (PhD) , minister of Science & Higher Education, as he entered the spacious reception hall at the National Palace.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was warmly welcomed and congratulated by his cabinet members and others ministers, including Hirut Zemene, state minister for Foreign Affairs, Ergoge Tesfaye (PhD)(middle), minister of Labor & Social Affairs, and Hirut Woldemariam (PhD) , minister of Science & Higher Education, as he entered the spacious reception hall at the National Palace. President Sahle-Work Zewde hosted a state dinner reception to congratulate and welcome the Prime Minister on his return home from Oslo, Norway, where he accepted the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize two days earlier.

The joyous celebrations actually started much earlier in the day at the Addis Abeba Bole International Airport where Abiy's flight arrived at dawn to be received with a 21-gun salute. Huge crowds lined the street, some wearing T-shirts bearing his image. Horsemen rode along his heavily guarded motorcade, as it slowly climbed to Arat Kilo.

Many citizens abroad and at home have expressed the joy and pride they have felt as Abiy became the first Ethiopian to receive the Nobel Prize. However, he has his fair share of detractors as well. Many of those point to the big problems that the Prime Minister has failed to overcome so far. These include internal displacement and the breakdown of law and order, as well as a lacklustre economy with high unemployment and a foreign currency crunch. The peace process with Eritrea, which was the main reason that won him the award in the first place, seems to have stalled as well.

However, this honourable award and the international recognition it has garnered seems to have energised Abiy, who in his speech at the dinner said he will be going back to the office after the party and working until midnight and then urged his cabinet members "not to sleep". At least on this, everyone will agree. Considering the challenges, the administration has no time to waste.

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