The son of poor villagers, a spy boss, and now the man behind dizzying attempts to reform Africa's fastest-growing economy and heal wounds with Ethiopia's neighbours, Abiy Ahmed has seen an unpredictable and peril-strewn rise to fame.
Another chapter was added to his remarkable tale on Friday when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Abiy was honoured "for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea," the jury said.
Since becoming Ethiopian prime minister in April 2018, the 43-year-old has aggressively pursued policies that have the potential to upend his country's society and reshape dynamics beyond its borders.
Within just six months of his swearing-in, Abiy made peace with bitter foe Eritrea, released dissidents from jail, apologised for state brutality, and welcomed home exiled armed groups branded "terrorists" by his predecessors.
More recently he has turned to fleshing out his vision for the economy while laying the groundwork for elections currently scheduled to take place next May.