The British-Sudanese billionaire and entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim, annually awards an African statesman for excellent leadership and good governance. Unfortunately, the prize has not been awarded since 2014 due to a lack of excelling candidates.
By: DAAF BORREN
Mo Ibrahim has earned his status of ‘billionaire’ through his work in mobile communications. He founded Celtel in 1998 and quickly subscribed over 24 million mobile phone uses in fourteen different African countries. After a paltry seven years he sold the tele-company, earning an estimated $3.4 billion.
Almost immediately thereafter he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which, together with a similarly named index, investigates the performance of national African governments and statesmen. As it is dr. Ibrahim’s firm belief that democratic governance and leadership are fundamental for the development and shared improvement of the general quality of life, the foundation hopes to encourage the importance of good governance and excellent leadership in Africa.
Unfortunately, due to a lack of excelling leaders, the Mo Ibrahim prize has not been awarded since 2014, when Namibian president Pohama was given the award for true and democratic leadership. In recent years, alarming developments of weak leadership and bad governance have resulted in the democratic and humanitarian deterioration of numerous African countries. Aside from war thorn South Sudan, where the population suffers tremendously due to its incompetent leaders, the presidents of Uganda, Rwanda and the D.R. Congo are slowly transforming into traditional ‘African Big Men’ (authoritarian leaders).
It seems current leaders are not aware of the rather lucrative financial prize, which accompanies the great honor of winning the award: $5 million and an annual pension of another $200.000.
Obviously and sadly enough, African people suffer most from this lack of ‘award winning leaders’. Recent turbulent times, which increasingly pressure democratic systems globally, ask for disinterested leadership and inclusive leadership, especially in several African countries. Lets hope dr. Ibrahim can legitimately award his prize once again next year.