No concerns for leadership prize package — Mo Ibrahim Foundation

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante
• Mr Abdoulie Jahneh (inset), Executive Director, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, addressing a press conference in Accra. With him is Ms Nathalie Delapalme, also of the foundation. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, a non-grant making organisation with a focus on good leadership and governance in Africa, is set to award the 2014 winner of the Achievement in African Leadership prize, to a former President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, in Accra on Friday.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is a US$5 million award, paid over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter, while the foundation will consider granting a further US$200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim laureate.

Currently, there are three Ibrahim Prize laureates who are still receiving their prize money since the award was established in 2007. They are former Presidents Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique who received the inaugural prize in 2007, Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and Pedro Pires of Carbo Verde (2011). The late Nelson Mandela of South Africa, was made an honorary laureate in 2007.

 

This makes former President Pohamba the fourth African leader to win the Achievement in African Leadership prize.

Sustainability of prize

However, despite the huge financial commitment that has been made to the winners of the US$5 million and US$200,000 per life thereafter, the foundation has indicated that the sustainability of the award is assured and there are currently no concerns for the prize.

At a press conference yesterday to announce the activities lined up for the African Governance Weekend to be held in Accra from November 20 to November 22, 2015, an Executive Director of the Foundation, Mr Abdoulie Janneh, told the Daily Graphic that “so far there are no concerns unless the world economy collapses. There are no concerns that this will not be sustainable.’’

“At this point in time that is not the concern. It is opportune to pay homage to Mo Ibrahim for putting this together – his own resources he made in a corruption free manner and decided that part of his wealth would go to this,” he said.

The Mo Ibrahim Prize

The Ibrahim Laureate is selected by an independent Prize Committee, consisting of seven eminent individuals. It assesses democratically elected former executive heads of state or government from African countries who have served their term in office within the limits set by their country’s constitution and have left office within the last three years.

The prize aims to encourage leaders who fully dedicate their tenure of office to surmounting the development challenges of their countries, improving the livelihoods and welfare of their people and consolidating the foundation for sustainable development.

Announcing the 2014 Laureate earlier in Nairobi, the Chairman of the Prize Committee, Mr Salim Ahmed Salim, said “President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy, social and economic development impressed the prize committee.

“His ability to command the confidence and trust of his people is exemplary. During the decade of his presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his presidency.”

Mr Ibrahim, the founder of the Foundation, also stated that “The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased that the Prize Committee has selected President Pohamba as the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate.”