Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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Mo Ibrahim (Uppsala, September 2014)

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is an African non-grant foundation founded in 2006 by businessman Mo Ibrahim. Headquartered in London and Dakar, Senegal, it works to strengthen governance and leadership in Africa through its key initiatives:

The Foundation is chaired by Mo Ibrahim. Other board members include Valerie Amos, Jin-Yong Cai, Nathalie Delapalme, Jendayi Frazer, Hadeel Ibrahim, Hosh Ibrahim, Abdoulie Janneh, Donald Kaberuka, Pascal Lamy, Graça Machel, Jay Naidoo, Mary Robinson, Ngaire Woods, and Zeinab Badawi.[1][2]

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership[edit]

In 2007, the Foundation inaugurated the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, to recognise outstanding political leadership on the continent.[3][4] The prize is awarded to a former African Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee.

The Ibrahim Prize celebrates exceptional African leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity.[3] The prize ensures that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of such leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue their work in other public and philanthropic roles on the continent. The prize is not necessarily awarded every year.[5]

Prize criteria:

  • 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


  • US$5 million over ten years
  • US$200,000 per year, thereafter

The Prize Committee is chaired by Festus Mogae.[6] Other current members of the Committee are Mohamed ElBaradei, Mary Robinson, Aïcha Bah Diallo, Horst Köhler and Graça Machel.

Previous Prize Committee Chairs:

Previous Prize Committee Members:

The prize has been awarded:

  • 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."[9] Nelson Mandela was also made an Honorary Laureate in recognition of his extraordinary leadership qualities and achievements.[10]
  • 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."[11] 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.[12]
  • In 2011, the Prize was awarded to Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde.[13] Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, presented President Pires with the award at a prize ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia.[14]
  • In 2014, to Hifikepunye Pohamba, former president of Namibia.[15]
  • In 2015 and 2016, the Prize Committee decided not to award the prize.
  • In 2017, to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia.[16]
  • In 2018 and 2018, the Prize Committee decided not to award the prize.
  • In 2020, to Mahamadou Issoufou, former president of Niger.[3]

Nelson Mandela was also awarded an honorary Ibrahim Prize in 2007[17] and Desmond Tutu was awarded a Special Prize for speaking truth to power in 2012.[18]

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance[edit]

Launched in 2007, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) assesses governance performance in all 54 African countries over the latest available 10-year period.[19] It provides a framework and dashboard to assess the delivery of public goods and services and public policy outcomes in those countries.

The IIAG is the most comprehensive dataset measuring African governance, providing specific scores and trends at the continental, regional and national level, on a range of governance dimensions, such as security, justice, rights, economic opportunity and health.[20]

The IIAG provides a biennial assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Compiled by combining over 250 variables from more than 40 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.[21]

Ibrahim Governance Weekend[edit]

The Foundation hosts an annual event, the Ibrahim Governance Weekend (IGW), that convenes African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa's major international partners for a three-day event to debate issues of critical importance to Africa.[22][23]

The weekend opens on Friday evening with the Leadership Ceremony, which celebrates the Ibrahim Laureates and excellence in African Leadership. It continues Saturday, with a whole day dedicated to the Ibrahim Forum. The Ibrahim Forum is a high-level discussion forum, which focuses on a specific issue of critical importance to Africa.[24] The weekend concludes with a large public concert which has featured notable African political and entertainment figures.

The event also includes the Now Generation Forum, where the Foundation convenes emerging African leaders and young professionals, to gather perspectives from the continent’s majority – its youth – on the theme to be discussed across the weekend. The key ideas and takeaways from this event are shared at the high-level Ibrahim Forum by selected representatives from the group, with some of these included in the Ibrahim Forum Report.

As part of the IGW, each year the Foundation publishes the Ibrahim Forum Report which provides the most recent facts, figures and analysis on a specific topic identified as a priority for African governance, such as climate change, migration, youth, urbanisation and agriculture.[25]

The event is held in a different African city each year, with previous IGW’s having taken place in Alexandria, Dar es Salaam, Port Louis, Tunis, Dakar, Addis Ababa, Accra, Marrakech, Kigali and Abidjan. In 2020 and 2021, due to COVID-19, the IGW was virtual.[26]

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships and Scholarships[edit]

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships were established in 2011 to identify and mentor the future generation of African leaders.[27] Each year three fellows have an opportunity to work in the executive offices of the African Development Bank (Abidjan), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Addis Ababa) or the International Trade Committee (Geneva), with a stipend of US$100,000.[28]

During their 12-month programmes, fellows gain both technical and leadership skills, while contributing directly to research and policy design. A special feature of the programme is the opportunity to benefit from direct mentorship of the heads of the host organisations.

The Ibrahim Scholarships were established in 2007, to support and develop the talent of young Africans in selected disciplines. The Ibrahim Scholarships support aspiring African leaders at a number of distinguished academic institutions, including the London Business School,[29] SOAS University of London, the University of Birmingham[30] and Chatham House.[31] All those who graduate from a Fellowship or Scholarship programme are automatically enrolled in the Foundation's Now Generation Network, a network of young and mid-career Africans, with members from all 54 African countries.

The Now Generation Network[edit]

The Now Generation Network (NGN) currently consists of the Ibrahim alumni of Fellows and scholars and the participants of the annual Now Generation Forum (NGF).[32] It is a pan-African network, with members from all 54 African countries and from various sectors and disciplines.[33][34][25]

The NGN includes a number of different initiatives, including the NGF as well as an In conversation with… series, which consists of an hour long ‘intergenerational dialogue’ between the Foundation’s leadership, partners of the Foundation, and a selection of NGN members.

In 2020, the Foundation also produced the first NGN survey, titled COVID-19 in Africa: what does it mean for young people? The report analyses youth perspectives on the challenges Africa faces as a direct result of COVID-19.[35][36]


  1. ^ "Letter: Developing countries must have the data to fight climate crisis". Financial Times. 21 September 2022. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  2. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation: About". Archived from the original on 9 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Orr, Toby (8 March 2021). "Niger's outgoing president wins $5m African leadership prize". Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  4. ^ "Prize offered to Africa's leaders". BBC News. 26 October 2006.
  5. ^ "Mo Ibrahim prize for African leadership: No winner". BBC News. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  6. ^ "Botswana's Festus Mogae new chairman of Ibrahim Prize committee". Nation. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  7. ^ "Kofi Annan To Chair Committee Of Largest Prize In World". VOA. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  8. ^ "Salim Ahmed Salim appointed Mo Ibrahim Prize Committee chair". 19 May 2012. Archived from the original on 19 May 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  9. ^ "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize". BBC News. 22 October 2007.
  10. ^ "Nelson Mandela named Honorary Laureate by Mo Ibrahim Foundation". Modern Ghana. 3 December 2007.
  11. ^ "Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize, BBC (UK)". BBC News. 20 October 2008.
  12. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces decision not to award 2010 Ibrahim Prize". APPA Blog. 13 June 2010.
  13. ^ "Cape Verde ex-leader Pedro Pires wins Mo Ibrahim prize". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Party time in Tunis Artists, Richard Dowden's Africa blog". Royal African Society. 23 November 2011. Archived from the original on 14 December 2011.
  15. ^ Anderson, Mark (2 March 2015). "Namibia's president wins $5m African leadership prize". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  16. ^ "Ex-Liberian president wins prize for African leadership". 12 February 2018. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  17. ^ "South Africa: Mandela Named Mo Ibrahim Honorary Laureate". AllAfrica. 26 November 2007.
  18. ^ "Archbishop Tutu wins $1m for 'speaking truth'". Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  19. ^ Thomas, Abdul Rashid (25 May 2022). "New research from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation shines light on Africa's precarious position in the climate debate". The Sierra Leone Telegraph. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  20. ^ Nuhu, Salome (25 September 2019). "Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces launch of 'governance report'". Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  21. ^ "Methodology". Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Retrieved 21 March 2023.
  22. ^ "AfDB participates in Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Marrakech". African Development Bank - Building today, a better Africa tomorrow. 29 January 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  23. ^ shabaka (10 June 2021). "Ibrahim Governance Weekend: Diasporas' role in Africa's path to recovery". Shabaka. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  24. ^ "Liberia: Mo Ibrahim Flagship Event Set for Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire". allAfrica. 28 January 2019.
  25. ^ a b "The Future of Africa". UNICEF UK. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  26. ^ "Council of EU - Newsroom". Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  27. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships to support Africa's next generation". African Development Bank - Building today, a better Africa tomorrow. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  28. ^ starportillo (25 August 2021). "$100,000 Annual Stipend at the Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships for Africans". Scholarships for Africans. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  29. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Scholarship". London Business School. Retrieved 21 April 2023.
  30. ^ "MSc in Development Policy and Politics (with Mo Ibrahim Foundation Internship)". University of Birmingham. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  31. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation Academy Fellowship". Chatham House.
  32. ^ "The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships". Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  33. ^ "MINSABS | The Vice Minister of Health and Social Welfare participates in the Now Generation Forum". Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  34. ^ "Now Generation Network". Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  35. ^ Asare-Nuamah, Peter; Dick-Sagoe, Christopher; Sakah, Bernard Nsaidzedze; Muzee, Hannah; Asamoah, Joycelyn Oteng; Kessie, Kingsley Obeng (14 December 2021). "Determinants of COVID-19 Response Strategies in Selected African Countries". Journal of Applied Social Science. 16 (1): 281–304. doi:10.1177/19367244211055799. ISSN 1936-7244. S2CID 245228817.
  36. ^ Thomas, Abdul Rashid (26 July 2020). "Young people perceive COVID-19 as catalyst to re-shape Africa's future". The Sierra Leone Telegraph. Retrieved 10 March 2023.

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