The Ibrahim Prize and Criteria Involved for Nigerians


The Ibrahim Prize and Criteria Involved for Nigerians.

The Ibrahim Prize: The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is a yearly prize awarded to a former African Executive Head of State or Government. The Ibrahim price was established by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in the year 2007, the Ibrahim Prize is basically made to foster excellence in African leadership.

Sudanese born British businessman Mo Ibrahim speaks during a press conference to announce former Cabo Verde President Pedro Pires as the winner of the “Mo Ibrahim Prize” for achievement in African Leadership’ in central London on October 10, 2011. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

It is awarded to a previous Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Laureates.

The Ibrahim Prize

  • Recognizes and celebrates African executive leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity
  • highlights exceptional role models for the continent
  • ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent
  • is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year.


  • former African Executive Head of State or Government
  • left office in the last three years
  • democratically elected
  • served his/her constitutionally mandated term
  • demonstrated exceptional leadership

With a US$5 million initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life, the prize is believed to be the world’s largest, exceeding the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, former United States President Bill Clinton, and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan are among those who have welcomed the initiative.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. Former South African president Nelson Mandela was an honorary laureate.

Simultaneously with the introduction of the Ibrahim Prize in 2007, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation launched the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) that ranks countries across the continent on their governance performance, based on each country’s scores in respect of six broad-gauged governance categories.

The categories are: Safety and Rule of Law (personal safety, national security, accountability, rule of law); Participation and Human Rights (participation, rights, and gender); Sustainable Economic

Five Prize Laureates

Opportunity (infrastructure, public management, business environment; rural sector); and Human Development (education, health, and welfare). Normally, one would expect a country’s IIAG scores and rankings during a laureate’s years of service to be high for him/her to have qualified as an exceptional leader.

It would also be reasonable to expect the scores and ranking of a laureate’s country to remain high in the immediate years (two to three) following the award.

This expectation holds true for three of the laureates: Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), Pedro Pires of Cape Verde (2011) and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014).

Although the IIAG was only launched towards the end of Mogae’s years of service (1998-2008), Botswana was among the top four performers in 2007 and 2008 and maintained the same high performance during the immediate three years after his tenure.

Regarding President Pires of Cape Verde, IIAG scores and rankings were available during five years of his ten-year tenure (2001-2011): the country was among the top four performers during each of his years in service as well as during the immediate three years after his tenure.

(It is worth noting that both Botswana and Cape Verde have consistently ranked among the top four performers in the IIAG from 2007 to date).

Although Namibia’s scores and rankings were slightly lower than those of Botswana and Cape Verde – it is among the top eight performers – the consistency of the country’s good performance over eight years of President Pohamba’s tenure (2005-2015) must have earned him the award.

Strikingly, too, the country has remained among the top seven performers during the immediate two years after his tenure.

The two other laureates, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) and Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia (2017), were specially recognized for assuring the successful transition from conflict to peace in their respective countries.

And the logic is obvious: assuring peace and security within the territorial area of a state is an incontrovertible precondition for development.

Prize Committee

  • Salim Ahmed Salim (Chair), former Secretary General of the Organisation of African Unity.
  • Martti Ahtisaari
  • Aicha Bah Diallo
  • Mohamed ElBaradei
  • Horst Köhler
  • Graça Machel
  • Festus Mogae
  • Mary Robinson

EDU Team

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