News24

Africa leadership prize withheld

2010-06-13 22:25

London - Judges for the multi-million-dollar Mo Ibrahim Prize for excellence in African leadership on Sunday withheld the award for the second year running, having failed to find a candidate.

"The standards set for the prize winner are high, and the number of potential candidates each year is small," said prize founder and chair Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born businessman.

"So it is likely that there will be years when no prize is awarded. In the current year, no new candidates emerged."

Last year, the prize committee chaired by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan said it had considered some credible candidates but could not select a winner. This year there were no new candidates.

The prize goes to a democratically elected former leader from a sub-Saharan African country who has left office in the last three years.

Ibrahim said that despite the lack of a suitable recipient for the prize, worth $5m over ten years and thereafter $200 000 a year, his foundation would keep working to boost good governance in Africa.

"Many African countries are making great strides not just economically, but also in terms of their governance," he said, noting that the foundation's governance index, based on 80 criteria, showed rising standards across Africa.

Previous recipients of the prize include Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique, and former Botswana president Festus Mogae. South African anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela was made an honorary laureate in 2007.