Mo Ibrahim Foundation

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Mo Ibrahim (Uppsala, Sept. 2014)

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 Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese billionaire businessman and philanthropist, who founded the telecommunications company Celtel International in 1998.

Ibrahim is the chairman. 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 "bring about meaningful change on the continent, by providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance".[2]

The Foundation, which is a non-grant-making organisation, focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through four main initiatives:

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership[edit]

The Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The Ibrahim Prize:

  • recognises and celebrates African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity 2008
  • highlights exceptional role models for the continent
  • ensures that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent

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.[3]

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.[4] Other members of the Committee are Festus Mogae, Martti Ahtisaari, Mohamed ElBaradei, Mary Robinson, Aïcha Bah Diallo, Horst Köhler 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."[5] Nelson Mandela was also made an Honorary Laureate in recognition of his extraordinary leadership qualities and achievements.[6]
  • 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."[7] 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.[8] 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."[9]
  • In 2011 the Prize was awarded to Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde.[10] Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, presented President Pires with the award at a prize ceremony in Tunis, Tunisia.[11] 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 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Compiled by combining over 100 variables from more than 30 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

The Foundation defines governance as the provision of the political, social and economic goods that a citizen has the right to expect from his or her state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens. The IIAG assesses progress under four main conceptual categories: Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. These four pillars are populated with data that cover governance elements ranging from infrastructure to freedom of expression and sanitation to property rights.

The IIAG allows users to benchmark governance performance across a number of dimensions at the national, regional and continental levels. Scores and ranks are available for all years from 2000, enabling the analysis of trends over time. All of the underlying data used in the construction of the IIAG are freely available and transparently published alongside a comprehensive methodology.

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships and Scholarships[edit]

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships form a selective programme designed to mentor future African leaders. The Fellows receive mentoring from the current leaders of key multilateral institutions.

From 2011 – 2013 Fellows were hosted at AfDB, UNECA and WTO. From 2014 onwards the WTO was replaced by a Fellowship at the ITC.

The Ibrahim Scholarships were established in 2007, to support and develop the talent of outstanding young Africans in selected disciplines. Current partnerships are with AUC, LBS, SOAS and the University of Birmingham.


  1. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board". Archived from the original on 2012-10-19.
  2. ^ "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation: About". Archived from the original on 2014-04-09.
  3. ^ "Prize offered to Africa's leaders, BBC News, 26.10.2006". 2006-10-26.
  4. ^ "Salim Ahmed Salim appointed Mo Ibrahim Prize Committee chair, Afrique Avenir, 22.02.2011". Archived from the original on 2012-05-19.
  5. ^ "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize, BBC News, 22.10.2007". 2007-10-22.
  6. ^ "Nelson Mandela named Honorary Laureate by Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Modern Ghana, 03.12.2007".
  7. ^ "Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize, BBC (UK), 20.10.2008". BBC News. 2008-10-20.
  8. ^ "Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces decision not to award 2010 Ibrahim Prize, APPA Blog, 13.06.2010".
  9. ^ "Mo Ibrahim: Why no one got a prize this year, The Independent, 15.10.2005". London. 2010-06-15.
  10. ^ "Cape Verde ex-leader Pedro Pires wins Mo Ibrahim prize". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  11. ^ "Party time in Tunis Artists, Richard Dowden's Africa blog, 23.11.2011". Archived from the original on 2011-12-14.

External links[edit]