Africa’s first elected female president scoops $5m Mo Ibrahim prize

Ismail Akwei February 12, 2018
Former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf -- A UMNS photo by Mike DuBose

Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been awarded the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for her excellent leadership during her time in office.

Sirleaf, who handed over Liberia’s leadership to former international footballer George Weah last month, is the fifth recipient of the US$5 million award that is paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter.

“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focussed on building a nation and its democratic institutions.

“Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build,” says Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee who announced the decision on Monday.

Sirleaf is the fifth leader to win the award after three years of not finding a winner worthy of the prize. Namibian Hifikepunye Pohamba won it in 2014. In 2011, it was won by Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde and then Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008.

Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique won it in 2007 and Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007.

During Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s tenure, Liberia was the only country out of 54 to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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