Wednesday, October 21, 2009

No winner for African leadership prize

Mark Tran, London
October 21, 2009 - 12:00AM

A FOUNDATION set up to award a $US5 million ($A5.4 million) annual prize for good governance in Africa has said there will be no winner this year because it could not find anyone to award it to.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is awarded only to democratically elected heads of state who have left office in the past three years.

That requirement limits the pool of contenders, eliminating the continent's long-standing leaders, some of whom have held on to power for decades.

In a snub to recent former presidents and heads of state in Africa, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation - set up by the billionaire businessman and philanthropist - said its prize committee considered some credible candidates, but could not select a winner.

A Sudanese-born former British Telecom engineer, Mr Ibrahim moved to Britain in 1974 and created and sold two highly successful companies.

The Forbes rich list puts his wealth at $US2.5 billion, and he appears regularly at the top of lists of influential black Britons.

''It is the [independent] prize committee's decision not to award a prize this year and we entirely respect it,'' Mr Ibrahim said. ''We made clear at the launch of the foundation that there may be years when there is no winner.''

The seven-member prize committee is chaired by Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general.

Launched in 2007, the foundation was designed to encourage good governance in Africa and to hand out the world's largest annually awarded prize, worth $US5 million over 10 years and $US200,000 a year for life thereafter.


This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/world/no-winner-for-african-leadership-prize-20091020-h6wk.html

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