, LONDON, Oct 15 – The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership – the world’s biggest individual prize – was not awarded for a third time in four years as no suitable candidates were found, it was announced Monday.
At a press conference in London, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation said it was not going to compromise on its standard of excellence in a leader.
The award, set up by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim in 2006, carries a $5 million prize paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on, with a further $200,000 per year available for 10 years for good causes backed by the winner.
The award goes to a democratically-elected African leader who has served their mandated term and left office in the last three years.
“You make your bed, you have to lie on it. If we said we’re going to have a prize for exceptional leadership, we have to stick to that. We are not going to compromise,” Ibrahim said.
“We are not just in the business of positive messages – we would lose our credibility.”
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has awarded the annual prize only three times since it was established, plus two special awards given to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and South African former archbishop Desmond Tutu.
The prize committee said they reviewed a number of eligible candidates “but none met the criteria needed to win this award”.
“The award is about excellence in leadership. In the first six years the prize committee has selected three very worthy laureates who continue to be an inspiration and whose examples, we hope, will be emulated.”
The inaugural prize went to former president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007 and Botswana’s ex-president Festus Mogae won in 2008.
The prize was not awarded in the following two years. Former Cape Verde president Pedro Pires won the 2011 prize.