Mo Ibrahim Foundation Picks No Winner for African Leader Award

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation chose no winner for its $5 million African Leadership Award for the third time in six years because there were no suitable candidates, selection committee chairman Salim Ahmed Salim said.

The award is supposed to be given out annually to a democratically elected African leader who helped improve the quality of life in his or her country and then handed over power peacefully. Past winners include former South African President Nelson Mandela and Festus Mogae, who was president of Botswana.

Governance in some of the continent’s largest economies including Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya is “stuttering a bit,” Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born billionaire founder of the telecommunications company Celtel International BV, told reporters today at same event in London. Indicators are improving across the continent in the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, including gender equality, economic development, access to health care and rural productivity, Ibrahim said in a live broadcast streamed over the Internet.

Between 2000 and last year, there has been “a marked improvement in governance across Africa,” he said. “The economy has been moving forward relentlessly. However, economic development does not give us a reason to be a little complacent about participation and the human rights of people.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at

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