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No African Leadership Prize for Two Years in a Row

Author: John Campbell, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies
July 9, 2010


The Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced for the second year in a row that it has declined to award its prize for excellence in African leadership.

The Ibrahim prize seeks to highlight and celebrate positive leadership on the continent and to encourage African leaders to leave office in a constitutional way.

Regrettably, the prize committee's decision again not to make the award underscores that there is little to celebrate about the commitment to constitutionalism and the rule of law by many African heads of state.

The Ibrahim Prize, established by Sudanese-born telecommunications magnate Mo Ibrahim, is awarded to a democratically elected leader who has served his or her term within the limits set by the country's constitution and has left office within the past three years.

The prize committee draws on a wide range of evidence about good governance or its absence, including the foundation's own Ibrahim Index of African Governance. The prize, perhaps the most lucrative one of its kind, pays $5 million over 10 years and $200 thousand per annum for life thereafter.

In addition, the foundation considers granting a further $200,000 per year for ten years toward public interest activities and good causes espoused by the winner. In 2007, the prize was awarded to Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique for his post-civil war reconciliation policies and his stepping down from the presidency after two terms.

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