Monday, October 22, 2007

The Mo Ibrahim Prize: the envelope please..

The first annual Mo Ibrahim prize to retired African president goes to: Former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.

Chissano had been seen as a frontrunner to the $5 million prize paid out over 10 years and $200,000 per year for the remainder of his life.

Koffi Annan said the Mr. Chissano made an outstanding contribution for peace and democracy. “This remarkable reconciliation between opponents provides a shining example to the rest of the world and is testament to both his strength of character and his leadership," he told the BBC.

Mozambique suffered through a civil war from 1975 – when it gained independence from Portugal – to 1992. Mr. Chissano was president from 1986 to 2005. He decided against seeking a third term in 2004 against the wishes of his party.

Mr. Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born businessman who became a millionaire in the telecom industry, created the prize as an incentive for African leaders to provide security, health, education and economic development to their people.

The main incentive of the award is to encourage long-serving leaders to step down. Oftentimes, Mr. Ibrahim says, leaders know they’ll miss the good life so they decide to cling to power. Thus, only leaders who democratically transfer power can win the large sum.

There is a great discussion regarding the merits (and not) of the award here.

1 comment:

Mikee . . . Michael Anthony . . . said...

I am of the view some leaders are born thieves like Abu Bacha, late President of Nigeria.
Some leaders do not know when to quit.
Most are afraid of Courts when they quit, like the infamous Robert Mugabe.
The 'Mo Ibrahim' prize will never act as an incentive for one has to wait a long time and cannot resist thieving chances.
But would be a beneficial reward at the end of their time.
For all politicians are generally liars and thieves.
Politics is the safe haven of all scoundrels.