London, United Kingdom, Feb 28 – The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership — the world’s biggest individual prize — drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday.
The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years.
The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on.
The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence.
The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership.
“A very high bar was deliberately set when the prize was launched in 2006,” said former Organisation of African Unity secretary general Salim Ahmed Salim, who chaired the prize committee.
“We recognise and applaud the important contributions that many African leaders have made to change their countries for the better.
“But the prize is intended to highlight and celebrate truly exceptional leadership, which is uncommon by its very definition,” the former Tanzanian prime minister said.
“After careful consideration, the committee has decided not to award the prize in 2016.”
The prize’s four laureates are: Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007); Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008); Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014).
Former South African president Nelson Mandela was made an honorary laureate in 2007.
The London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation produces an annual index of African governance, allowing citizens to measure how well their countries are being run.
The foundation’s flagship event, the Ibrahim Governance Weekend convening prominent African political and business leaders, takes place in Marrakech in Morocco from April 7 to 9.