The peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains amongst the best news to have come out of Africa in recent years. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki were conferred with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Order of Zayed, the highest civil honour.

The award was conferred by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces “in recognition of their work for peace between the two nations.” The recognition came during a tripartite summit comprising Eritrea, Ethiopia and the UAE.

During the summit Sheikh Mohammed  said the agreement would lead to a brighter future for both countries, writing on Twitter: “We are confident that this step will contribute to further cooperation & joint coordination between the neighbours & fulfil their people’s aspirations for peace, development & prosperity, as well as enhance security & stability in the Horn of Africa & the wider region”.

“We have an utmost trust that this move will enhance the bilateral cooperation and coordination between the two neighbouring countries. And will fulfil their citizens’ aspirations to achieve peace, development and prosperity,” Sheikh Mohammed said on Twitter.

There is hope that peace deal between the two former foes will encourage other warring regions across the continent to pursue dialogue. Sheikh Mohammed added on Twitter, “The bold & historic step taken by the leaders of the two neighbouring countries to end the conflict and open new horizons for cooperation and joint coordination is a model that can be followed in resolving conflicts around the world”.

The two African leaders aren’t the first that the UAE has given an award to before. The UAE conferred on Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir the Zayed Medal of First Class for his stance towards Arab issues early last year.

Read: Ethiopian Airlines to resume multiple daily service flights to Eritrea

Read: Ethiopia and Eritrea appoint ambassadors in more than two decades

With both countries having come to an agreement about using Eritrea’s port, economic ties between the two countries could resume. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Ahmed has been hailed for his sweeping reformation. PM Ahmed, the youngest leader in Africa is also leading Ethiopia out of a one party system into a multiparty system.

The peace agreement has brought new relationships, possibilities and opportunities between Ethiopia and Eritrea. It has ushered in hope for new business opportunities, a new flight route for Ethiopian Airlines between the two countries was opened, and new diplomatic relationships were formed. To strengthen relationships, ambassadors were appointed and new embassies opened. Redwan Hussein was recently appointed as Ethiopia’s first ambassador to Eritrea in more than 20 years, and Semere Russom was appointed as Eritrea’s ambassador to Ethiopia.