Mo Ibrahim, Founder and Chairman of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF), a non-grant-making organization, has urged African leaders to work hard to change the image of Africa’s leadership and governance system.

Mr Ibrahim said African leaders could change the image of Africa’s governance by pursuing democracy and development, curbing slum development, investing in infrastructure, housing, youth development and empowerment, and promoting gender equity.

He was speaking at the award ceremony, in Accra on Friday, of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership which was won by former Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The MIF Founder and Chairman called on emerging oil-producing countries to learn from Norway about oil resource management as well as the management of other natural resources.

He identified the transfer of illicit funds as a serious challenge facing African countries which leaders of the continent should work hard to address.

In addition, he said, food security issues required serious attention and that agricultural subsidies should benefit the poor while pressure should be mounted against politicians who amassed wealth to the detriment of the poor.

Mr Ibrahim expressed concern about the disastrous effects of climate change and urged African leaders to confront it as a matter of urgency.

Furthermore, he said, Africa’s economic integration should be considered a matter of top priority.

In a welcome address, Ghana’s President, President John Dramani Mahama, lauded former President Pohamba,  for winning the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, describing the feat as totally deserving.

President Mahama, also described Ghana as a beacon of democratic advancement and a trailblazer in democratic governance.

MIF, founded by Mo Ibrahim in 2006, focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through four main initiatives, namely the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African leadership, Ibrahim Forum and the Ibrahim Fellowships and Scholarships.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership is a US$ 5million award paid over a ten-year period and US$200,000 annually for life. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will also consider granting a further US$ 200,000 every year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.

The Prize was established by the MIF in 2007 to recognize and celebrate excellence in African leadership.

The award aims to encourage leaders who fully dedicate their tenure of office to surmounting the development challenges of their countries, improving livelihoods and welfare of their people and consolidating the foundation for sustainable development.

President Pohamba follows Presidents Joachim Chissano of Mozambique who was honoured by Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2007, Festus Mogai of Botswana in 2008 and Perdro Pires of Cape Verde in 2011 as Ibrahim Laureates while in the years 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013, no winner emerged.


Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)