THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation named former Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba as its 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership winner.
The announcement was made at a press conference in Nairobi by the foundation’s member and Prize committee chair, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, flanked by committee members Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Laureate; Aïcha Bah Diallo, former Minister of Education, Guinea and Chair of Forum of African Women Educationalists; Graca Machel, University of Cape Town’s chancellor, former minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique; Festus Mogae, former Botswana President and chairman of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa; Mohamed El Baradei, Nobel laureate and former director general of IACA; Mary Robinson, former Ireland and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change with Mr. Mo Ibrahim sitting in the audience.
The fund, which awards $5 million to the winner, paid over a period of 10 years and $200,000.0 thereafter annually for a lifetime, was established by Mr. Ibrahim in 2007 to incentivize and encourage good governance and leadership on the continent by recognizing African leaders whose presidency tenure improved the socioeconomic condition, and livelihoods and welfare of their civilians.
The inaugural prize was given to the late President Nelson Mandela.
President Pohamba was chosen from among a pool of few other candidates for “forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development.”
Speaking on behalf of the foundation and committee, Dr. Ahmed Salim said the prize committee was impressed by President Pohamba’s commitment to democracy, good governance, and his humility during his presidential term.
“During the decade of Hifikepunye Pohamba’s presidency, Namibia reputation has been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights,” said Mr. Salim.
President Pohamba joined other fellow Ibrahim Prize winner, including Festus Mogae, Pedro Pires and Joaquim Chicano.
The award has only been given out four times. From 2009-2013, there were no winner.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said it will consider granting a further US$ 200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.
Commenting on the committee’s section, Mr. Ibrahim, speaking on behalf of the foundation he founded, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said they are pleased that the Prize Committee has selected President Pohamba as the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate. “He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy. His legacy is that of strengthened institutions through the various initiatives introduced during his tenure in office. He is a role model for the continent.”
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