The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announced that there was no winner for the 2015 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership since none of the leaders considered met the criteria.
The announcement was made following a meeting of the independent Prize Committee chaired by Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim.
The award was instituted in 2006 by Sudanese telecom tycoon, Mo Ibrahim, as an incentive to promote good governance on the continent and also to encourage African leaders to leave office when their term limit is due.
The award is also “a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year,” the foundation said.
The last winner, for the 2014 edition, was former Namibia President Hifikepunye Pohamba, whom Dr. Salim described then as having “demonstrated sound and wise leadership” while maintaining “his humility throughout his Presidency.”
The Foundation has awarded four leaders since its inauguration in 2006 namely: 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.
Commenting on the decision of the Prize Committee, Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said the board “respects the decision of the Independent Prize Committee.”
“When we launched the Prize ten years ago, we deliberately set a very high bar.”
He continued, “We want the Prize to shine a spotlight on outstanding leadership to provide role models right across society, as well as supporting Laureates to continue to serve the continent by sharing their wisdom and experience.”
In 2009 and 2010, there were no winners but South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded $1 million special prize for his lifelong commitment towards “speaking truth to power” in 2012.
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, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.
The Prize Committee meets on a regular basis to review eligible candidates and has begun considering candidates for the 2016 Ibrahim Prize, the foundation announced.
The winner gets $5m over 10 years and $200,000 a year for life. There were no winners in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.