Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa.

It was founded by Dr. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese philanthropist and businessman who founded telecommunications company Celtel International in 1998.

Dr. Ibrahim is the Chair of the Board. Other Board members are Lord Simon Cairns, Nathalie Delapalme, Hadeel Ibrahim, Abdoulie Janneh, Sir Ketumile Masire, Jay Naidoo, Mary Robinson and Salim Ahmed Salim.[1]

The Foundation’s Secretariat is based in London.


The stated aims of the foundation are to:[2]

bring about meaningful change on the continent, by providing tools to support advancements in leadership and governance.

The Foundation, which is a non-grant making organisation, helps to define, assess and enhance governance and leadership in Africa using the following tools:

  • Ibrahim Index of African Governance
  • Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
  • Ibrahim Forum
  • Ibrahim Fellowships and Scholarships

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership[edit]

In 2006, the Foundation launched the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The Prize is awarded to democratically elected former African Heads of State who have delivered security, health, education, rights, rule of law and economic development to their constituents and who have democratically transferred power to their successors in the last three years.[3] According to Ibrahim, "Good governance is crucial."[4]

With a $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.[5]

The winner of the Prize is chosen by an independent Prize Committee. The Committee is chaired by Salim Ahmed Salim, who took over from former chair Kofi Annan in 2011.[6] Other members of the Committee are Festus Mogae, Martti Ahtisaari, Mohamed ElBaradei, Mary Robinson, Aïcha Bah Diallo and Graça Machel.

  • In 2007 the inaugural Prize was awarded to former president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, for "his role in leading Mozambique from conflict to peace and democracy."[7] Nelson Mandela was also made an Honorary Laureate in recognition of his extraordinary leadership qualities and achievements.[8]
  • In 2008 Festus Mogae, former leader of Botswana, won the Ibrahim Prize. Kofi Annan stated: "President Mogae's outstanding leadership has ensured Botswana's continued stability and prosperity in the face of an HIV/AIDS pandemic, which threatened the future of his country and people."[9] Both awards ceremonies were held in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.
  • In 2009 the Prize Committee did not select a winner. The controversial decision came following the consideration of "credible candidates" and was interpreted by many as a laudable act in establishing a standard of credibility for the Prize.
  • In 2010 the Prize Committee decided not to award the prize.[10]Dr. Ibrahim said that "the purpose of the Foundation is to challenge those in Africa and the world to debate what constitutes excellence in leadership. The standards set for the prize are high, and the number of eligible candidates small. So it is always likely that there will be years when no prize is awarded."[11]
  • In 2011 the Prize was awarded to Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde.[12] Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, presented President Pires with the award at a prize ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia.[13] On the evening before the ceremony the Foundation organised a music concert with the theme ‘Africa Celebrates Democracy’ to mark the events in Tunisia that inspired the Arab Spring. Artists including Youssou N’Dour, Angélique Kidjo, Bendir Man and Lotfi Abdelli performed and all the proceeds were given to the Tunisian Red Crescent.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance[edit]

Established in 2007, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of quantitative data on governance in Africa. Compiled in partnership with experts from a number of the continent's institutions, it provides an annual assessment of governance in every African country. The IIAG provides a framework for citizens, governments, institutions and business to assess the delivery of public goods and services, and policy outcomes, across Africa.

The IIAG provides:

  • a framework for stakeholders to assess the delivery of public goods and services, and policy outcomes, in every African country
  • a tool with which to govern, highlighting continental, regional, national and thematic governance results

The data are classified within four categories:

  • Safety & Rule of Law
  • Participation & Human Rights
  • Sustainable Economic Opportunity
  • Human Development.

The IIAG is compiled using many international and African sources. A full list of sources can be found at

It was first published in 2007 in partnership with Kennedy School of Government Professor Robert I. Rotberg and ranked the performance of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The Index is now compiled under the auspices of African academics and researchers, whose work is supported by a number of major African governance institutions.[14] In 2009, the Index included all 53 African countries for the first time, including those in North Africa.

  • 2008 Index: Mauritius, the Seychelles and Cape Verde were ranked first, second and third, while Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia held the third lowest, second lowest and lowest places respectively. The 2008 Index found that two thirds of sub-Saharan African countries saw an improvement in governance.[16]
  • 2009 Index: Mauritius, Cape Verde and the Seychelles were ranked first, second and third, while Zimbabwe, Chad and Somalia held the third lowest, second lowest and lowest places respectively. The 2009 Index found that Southern Africa was outpacing North Africa in governance performance.[17]
  • 2010 Index: Mauritius, the Seychelles and Botswana were ranked first, second and third, while Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia held the third lowest, second lowest and lowest places respectively. The 2010 Index showed overall improvements human and economic development but declines in political rights, personal safety and the rule of law.[18]
  • 2011 Index: Mauritius, Cape Verde and Botswana were ranked first, second and third, while Zimbabwe, Chad and Somalia held the third lowest, second lowest and lowest places respectively. The 2011 Index illustrated that countries that pursue a balanced approach to all dimensions of governance achieve the most success.[19]

The Ibrahim Forum[edit]

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation also hosts an annual forum at which participants discuss and debate a particular topic on the African agenda.

In 2009 the Foundation held the forum in Dar es Salaam where members of civil society, the media, academia, regional bodies, NGOs and government debated climate change and climate justice; agriculture and food security; and regional economic integration.[22]

In 2010 the forum was held in Mauritius and focused on the need for greater regional integration in Africa. The forum was opened by the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, and African Union Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping.[23]

In 2011 the Foundation hosted a forum in Tunis, Tunisia, on Africa’s agricultural development, food security and rural development.[24]

The Ibrahim Fellowships and Scholarships[edit]

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation offers scholarships to African students studying at the Ahfad University in Khartoum, the American University in Cairo, the London Business School or the School of Oriental and African Studies.

In 2009 the Foundation launched the Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships programme with the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the World Trade Organization. The Programme provides young Africans with mentoring opportunities in each of these organisations and aims to help create a new generation of African leaders.[25] The three inaugural Ibrahim Fellows were announced in 2011.[26]


  1. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board". 
  2. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation: About". 
  3. ^ "Mo Ibrahim: Why no one got a prize this year, The Independent, 15.10.2005". London. 2010-06-15. 
  4. ^ "Interview with Mo Ibrahim, founder and former Chairman of Celtel, Jeune Afrique, 29.10.2006". 
  5. ^ "Prize offered to Africa's leaders, BBC News, 26.10.2006". 2006-10-26. 
  6. ^ "Salim Ahmed Salim appointed Mo Ibrahim Prize Committee chair, Afrique Avenir, 22.02.2011". 
  7. ^ "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize, BBC News, 22.10.2007". 2007-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Nelson Mandela named Honorary Laureate by Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Modern Ghana, 03.12.2007". 
  9. ^ "Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize, BBC (UK), 20.10.2008". BBC News. 2008-10-20. 
  10. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces decision not to award 2010 Ibrahim Prize, APPA Blog, 13.06.2010". 
  11. ^ "Mo Ibrahim: Why no one got a prize this year, The Independent, 15.10.2005". London. 2010-06-15. 
  12. ^ "Cape Verde ex-leader Pedro Pires wins Mo Ibrahim prize". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  13. ^ "Party time in Tunis Artists, Richard Dowden's Africa blog, 23.11.2011". 
  14. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Technical Committee". 
  15. ^ "It's better to be out to sea, The Economist, 29.09.2007". [dead link]
  16. ^ "The Big Question: Is political and economic stability beginning to take root in Africa?, The Independent, 07.10.2008". London. 
  17. ^ "Who’s Doing Well in Africa. Look South, The Economist, 01.10.2009". 2009-10-01. 
  18. ^ "Africans see economic gains, democracy losses, Mail & Guardian, 04.22.2010". 
  19. ^ "Ex-Cape Verde leader wins $5m African governance prize, AFP, 10.10.11". 
  20. ^ "Winners and losers of Mo Ibrahim’s African governance index". 
  21. ^ "List of African Countries by Index of Governance 2013". 
  22. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Discussion Forum in Dar es Salaam". 
  23. ^ "'Speed up good governance’ in Africa, Business Day, 23.11.10". 
  24. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation To Host Flagship Events In Honor Of African Youth, Face2Face Africa, 02.09.11". 
  25. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships to support Africa’s next generation, African Development Bank 07.04.2011". 
  26. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Fellows". 

External links[edit]