MO IBRAHIM FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES DECISION NOT TO AWARD 2010 IBRAHIM PRIZE
By Paul Ndiho
June 16, 2010
A foundation that gives a $5 million prize for good governance in Africa says it will not honor anyone this year. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said in a statement Monday that following its deliberations, the Prize Committee informed the Board of the Foundation that it had not selected a winner.
This year the Prize Committee told the Board that there had been no new candidates or new developments and that therefore no selection of a winner had been made.
The Ibrahim Prize recognizes and celebrates excellence in African leadership. The prize is awarded to a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government who has served their term in office within the limits set by the country’s constitution and has left office in the last three years.
Responding to the Prize Committee’s decision, Billionaire Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim, said in a statement “The Board respects the decision of the Prize Committee not to select a winner for the 2010 prize. The Prize Committee, which is independent from the Board.
“We have full respect to the people you mentioned. Some of those people are personal friends. There is no issue of disrespect here.”
Committee members did not give a reason for their decision, citing the confidentiality of their discussions. Ketumile Masire , a board member said, Ibrahim founded the world’s largest individual award as a way to encourage good governance on a continent often plagued by bad governance and corruption.
“This year, the prize committee has considered some credible candidates. However, after in-depth review, the prize committee could not select a winner.”
Mo Ibrahim made it clear when he set up the prize three years ago that there may be years when there would be no winner. This year, the Ibrahim committee considered more than ten African leaders who had left office between 2006 and 2009. In 2008, the prize went to former Botswana President Festus Mogae, who was honoured for steering his country along a stable, prosperous path and for leading the fight against AIDS. Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano won in 2007 for leading his country to peace and democracy after years of civil war. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, chairs the prize committee. The winner receives $5 million over 10 years and then $200,000 a year for life, with another possible $200,000 a year for 10 years for “good causes” that he supports