Mo Ibrahim Foundation Fails to Pick prize Winner

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KAMPALA, Uganda: The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has once again failed to find any former African leader suitable for the award of a cash prize of 5 million US Dollars for exhibiting excellent governance skills.

This is the biggest and perhaps the only award of its kind in the world, available to former leaders of African countries.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced Monday that it will not award its $5 million prize that recognizes democratically elected African leaders who excel in office and – critically – leave when they are supposed to.
The Prize is an annual US$5 million award paid over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. It has been established to recognise and celebrate excellence in African leadership, and to provide Laureates with the opportunity to pursue their commitment to the African continent once they have stepped down from office. It is awarded to a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government who has left office in the previous three years; served her/his constitutionally mandated term; and demonstrated excellence in office.
The Prize Committee stated: “The Prize Committee reviewed a number of eligible candidates but none met the criteria needed to win this Award. The Award is about excellence in leadership. In the first six years the Prize Committee has selected three very worthy Laureates who continue to be an inspiration and whose examples, we hope, will be emulated.”
In 2011, the Prize was awarded to President Pedro Verona Pires of Cape Verde for his “vision in transforming Cape Verde into a model of democracy, stability and increased prosperity.”
In a statement, The prize committee said it reviewed several former leaders but decided that none met the award criteria. The group did not reveal who was considered although any African leader who left office in the last three years like Senegalese President Wade was eligible.
Mo Ibrahim, a British mobile phone magnate who was born in Sudan, insisted in an interview that he was not disappointed that no winner emerged.
“Not at all. This is a prize for exceptional leadership, and we don’t need to go through the motions to just find anybody,” he told The Associated Press by telephone. “We have a wonderful prize committee which comprises some wonderful men and women, and they set really high standards.”
The cash prize has been awarded three times in its six-year history. Former Cape Verde President Pedro Verona Pires won last year. In 2008 Festus Mogae of Botswana won; In 2007 it was Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique. No award was given in 2009 and 2010.
Ibrahim says he believes the award has helped increase conversations about positive leadership in Africa instead of talk about the continent’s murderous or corrupt leaders.
“We wanted to bring the issues of governance and leadership to the center of the table, for the issues to be discussed by African society and African leadership,” Ibrahim told Associated Press, adding later: “Bad stories make news. That brings an unintended bias in the media coverage, and that is not helpful for the casual listener.”
Many people around the world know about African leaders like Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, who has clung to power for more than 30 years, Ibrahim said.
“But nobody knows the good guys. The prize is to bring forward a picture of the good side of Africa,” he said.
The Ibrahim Index of African Governance, released Monday, found that governance in Africa has improved since 2000, especially in the health and gender sectors. But the index found that many of the continent’s regional powerhouses – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa – have experienced poor governance since 2006.
Earlier this month Ibrahim’s foundation said it would give a $1 million grant to anti-apartheid hero Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa for “speaking truth to power.” When the one-off award was announced, the foundation said Tutu “is and has throughout his life been one of Africa’s great voices for justice, freedom, democracy and responsible, responsive government.”
The Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation met in London yesterday to conclude its deliberations on the 2012 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Following its meeting, the Prize Committee informed the Board of the Foundation that it had not selected a winner for 2012.
The Prize is an annual US$5 million award paid over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. It has been established to recognise and celebrate excellence in African leadership, and to provide Laureates with the opportunity to pursue their commitment to the African continent once they have stepped down from office. It is awarded to a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government who has left office in the previous three years; served her/his constitutionally mandated term; and demonstrated excellence in office.
President Pires followed Joaquim Chissano (2007) and Festus Mogae (2008) as Ibrahim Laureates. Nelson Mandela was made the honorary inaugural Laureate in 2006. In 2009 and 2010 the Prize Committee did not select a winner.
Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Laureates. Previous laureates, awarded for transformation of their countries and citizens’ lives during their tenure, are President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde (2011) and President Nelson Mandela (Honorary). The Laureates provide role models for the continent. The Ibrahim Prize enables them to use their skills and experience at the continental level once they have left national office. The Prize Committee may choose not to award the Prize, as was the case in 2009 and 2010.
On 4th October in Johannesburg the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announced  a one-off extraordinary award to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in recognition of his lifelong commitment to speaking truth to power. This Award does not replace, but is additional to the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement.
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2 thoughts on “Mo Ibrahim Foundation Fails to Pick prize Winner”

  1. Mo Ibrahim, you may have to wait another 50 years for a laureate.
    Meanwhile donate 2012 prize money to worst affected countries to mitigate the impact of MDR TB among their populations. They should use it to fund mobile clinics to test most-at-risk people and follow-up patients who live in areas far from health centres.

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