Again, no former African president worthy of Mo Ibrahim award

The Mo Ibrahim prize has become a valuable benchmark for excellence on the continent (Pictured Mo Ibrahim) Source: Ben Stanstall/Getty [Photo: ThisisAfrica]

For the second year running, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announced that there is no winner of the 2016 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

The announcement was made on Tuesday following a meeting of the independent Prize Committee chaired by Salim Ahmed Salim, and the Foundation’s Board meeting last weekend, the Foundation said in a statement.

Mr. Salim said the decision not to award any prize for 2016 was reached after a careful consideration.

“As I emphasise each year, a very high bar was deliberately set when the Prize was launched in 2006,” he said.

“We recognise and applaud the important contributions that many African leaders have made to change their countries for the better.

“But the Prize is intended to highlight and celebrate truly exceptional leadership, which is uncommon by its very definition.”

The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African executive Heads of State or Government who have left their office during the last three calendar years (2014-2016), having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.

Since being launched in 2006, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded only four times.

The previous Laureates are President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), President Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), President Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007). Nelson Mandela was the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007.

The Foundation said looks forward to hosting its flagship event, the Governance Weekend, in Marrakech, Morocco from 7-9 April 2017.

The event will open on the Friday evening with a high-profile discussion titled ‘A Conversation on Leadership’, looking at the challenges of global leadership in the 21st century.


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  • Sword of Damocles

    Speaks volume. This is the right prism to view The progress of the black man. Since 2006( 11 years), and only 4 leaders have been able to win it. Then take a look at Africa’s development at large, and the correlation is there for all with eyes to see. Foolish/dishonorable men/women as leaders = Misery, suffering and lamentation for INFINITY. no be rocket science or Nuclear physics. It’s quite simple Moral & upright leadership = Glory, honor, development, and Good future for our children & children’s children. Black man & woman open ya eyes. Time is of the essence…..

    • So oju abe niko

      You are right by and large, but there is also something wrong with the award committee. I believe John Kufuor of Ghana who finished his 2nd term in office in January 2009 eminently qualified for the award in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but the committee apparently did not deem him worthy. John Mahama, who just left power this January should also be in contention for the next 3 years – 2018 to 2020.

      • Sword of Damocles

        at first glance, I was inclined to agree with you(especially about John Kufuor), however I will direct your attention to the scandal that broke approx. 1-2 years ago about OBJ’s foundation in London. If you recall one of the allegations was that OBJ’s foundation was the conduit for the Jonathan administration to funnel cash to the then Ghanian President. Apparently the President was low on funds. I do not recall the details, but it may have played a role in the award committee evaluation of their terms. Just speculation, and I seek not to cast aspersion on their persons, but this honor is prestigious and comes with a very generous sum($5 mill, if my memory serves me right), hence the consideration should be as rigorous/stringent as trying to gain acceptance to Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Stanford Universities. So that if one were to win the award it would signify that the person is EXCEPTIONAL(quite different from the norm). I do certainly enjoy/appreciate your argument, and it is something that the committee should look at WITHOUT lowering their HIGH standard. Peace, Love, Wisdom & Strength to you & yours

        • So oju abe niko

          I get the gist of your argument, but I think you may have been confusing Kofi Anan’s son with John Kufuor. I believe Kofi Anan’s son was the one involved in the OBJ’s foundation. As you wrote, the Award committee must have had their reasons for skipping President Kufuor.
          I laughed a bit when you compare the award to gaining acceptance to some world famous universities. Those universities are truly exceptional, but they are not as hard to get into as some of you think. At least, at the graduate studies level, the entry requirement is actually not much different from many less well known schools. I did a graduate studies at MIT, and was accepted at Princeton for the same course, but chose the MIT. Also my uncle did his undergraduate work in Business Administration in Cambridge in the 40s, but I don’t know what it entailed for him to get in, but I suspect that it must have been based purely on his exceptional scholarship.