The 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia. She becomes the first woman to receive the Mo Ibrahim Award for Leadership, a distinction for which she will receive over $ 5 million USD.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who served two terms as President of Liberia from 2006 to 2017, is the fifth recipient of the Ibrahim Prize, which recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership. She joins Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) as an Ibrahim Prize Laureate. Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007
The Ibrahim Prize
Founded by telecommunication engineer and billionaire Sudanese Mo Ibrahim in 2006, the prize aims to distinguish 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 Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim 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”.
“The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African executive heads of state or government who have left office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.”
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became President of Liberia on 16 January 2006, after winning the 2005 national elections. She served her first term 2006-11, and was then successfully re-elected for a second term, serving in office 2012- January 2018. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
Since 2006, Liberia was the only country out of 54 to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance. This led Liberia to move up ten places in the Index’s overall ranking during this period.