Former Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, on Friday, received the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

The Ibrahim Prize, established by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (MIF), a non-grant-making organization, in 2007 to recognize and celebrate excellence in African leadership, is a US$ 5million award paid over a ten-year period and US$200,000 annually for life. MIF 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 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.

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.

Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of Tanzania, former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity, Board Member of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Chairman of the Ibrahim Prize Committee, said in selecting President Pohamba as winner, the Prize Committee took note of President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and socio-economic development.

Mr Salim said in its assessment, the Prize Committee also found out that President Pohamba’s ability to command the confidence and trust of his people was exemplary and that during his tenure of office, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership, and maintained his humility throughout the Presidency.

The Ibrahim Prize Committee Chair added that the Prize Committee found out that during the decade of President Pohamba’s presidential mandate, Namibia’s reputation had been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.

A citation accompanying the award noted that President Pohamba was committed to the rule of law and respect for the Namibian Constitution, respect for political opposition and commitment to gender justice which led to a notable achievement of a 48 per cent female membership of Namibia’s Parliament.

The citation adds that President Pohamba’s focused investment in health and education, reaped huge benefits such as a 100 per cent primary school enrolment and a fall in new Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) infections by an estimated 36 per cent between 2005 and 2013, reduction in Mother-To-Child transmission rate of HIV and more than 80 per cent of people living with HIV now receiving anti-retroviral therapy.

On macro-economic performance, the citation lauded President Pohamba for the achievement of a higher middle-income status, notwithstanding the period of global economic turbulence which, it said, reflected sound public management.

The citation cited the diversification of the Namibian economy, with emphasis on greater domestic processing, manufacturing, investment in infrastructure and efforts to tackle poverty, particularly the introduction of a pension system, comprehensive social safety nets and disability grants.

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)