Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 March 2020:
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation yesterday announced that there is no winner of the 2019 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. This decision has been made following deliberations by the independent Prize Committee, the statement says.
Announcing the decision, Prize Committee Chair Festus Mogae commented: “The Ibrahim Prize recognises truly exceptional leadership in Africa, celebrating role models for the continent. It is awarded to individuals who have, through the outstanding governance of their country, brought peace, stability and prosperity to their people. Based on these rigorous criteria, the Prize Committee could not award the Prize in 2019.”
Commenting on the decision, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said: “Africa is facing some of the toughest challenges in the world – ranging from those connected to population growth, and economic development, to environmental impact.
“We need leaders who can govern democratically and translate these challenges into opportunities. With two-thirds of our citizens now living in better-governed countries than ten years ago, we are making progress. I am optimistic that we will have the opportunity to award this Prize to a worthy candidate soon.”
The Ibrahim Prize aims to celebrate leaders who, during their time in office, have developed their countries, strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, and advanced sustainable development.
The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are former African executive Heads of State or Government who have left their office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.
Supporters of the former president of Sierra Leone – Ernest Bai Koroma, whose APC party lost presidential election in March 2018, are expecting the former president to clinch the award possibly in 2021.
But critics are questioning his democratic credentials, as well as his leadership role in failing to address the deep structural problems facing the country’s economy, rampant corruption and the political divide that threatened the stability of the nation. (Photo: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf).
Previous recipients of the award are: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia (2017), 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 Ibrahim Prize:
- Recognises and celebrates African leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity;
- Highlights exceptional role models for the continent;
- Ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent;
- Is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year.
- Former African Executive Head of State or Government
- Left office in the last three years
- Democratically elected
- Served his/her constitutionally mandated term
- Demonstrated exceptional leadership
- The Ibrahim Prize is the largest annually awarded prize in the world, consisting of US$5 million over ten years
The winner of the Ibrahim Prize is selected by an independent Prize Committee, appointed by the Foundation Board, comprised of:
- Festus Mogae – Former President of Botswana; 2008 Ibrahim Prize Laureate and Chair of the Prize Committee since 1 January 2020
- Aïcha Bah Diallo – President, Network for Education for All in Africa; Former Minister of Education in Guinea
- Mohamed ElBaradei – Director General Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency; Nobel Laureate
- Horst Köhler – Former UNSG Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, Former President of Germany
- Graça Machel – President, Foundation for Community Development; Former Minister of Education in Mozambique; Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board Member
- Mary Robinson – Chair of The Elders; UN Special Envoy for El Nino and Climate; Former UN Special Envoy on the Great Lakes Region of Africa; Former President of Ireland; Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board Member.
- Salim Ahmed Salim (Chair 2011 – 2019) | Former Secretary-General, OAU; Former Prime Minister of Tanzania; MIF Board Member
- Kofi Annan (dcd) (Chair 2007 – 2011) | Former UN Secretary General, United Nations
- Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (2007 – 2008) | Former Minister of the Economy & Minister of Finance, Nigeria; Former Vice President, World Bank
- Martti Ahtisaari (2007 – 2018) | Former President of Finland; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate