>It was just announced (see for instance BBC here) that Sudanese business mogul Mo Ibrahim will not be awarding any former African leader his The Ibrahim Prize this year. The prize is the largest monetary prize in the world with its 5 million USD over 10 years and 200 000 annually for the rest of the recipient’s life. The idea with the prize is to create debate around governance and provide positive incentives for democratic and transparent leadership in Africa.
Ghana’s ex-president John Kufuor was one of the favorites for the prize along with South Africa’s ex-leader Thabo Mbeki. Earlier this year, when Kufuor stepped down after eight years of rule, he was much applauded. Currently, he works with the UN-WFP. However, his name has also been mentioned in the questionable deal in which Ghana Telecom was sold, including the cable that connects Ghana to the rest of the world, to Vodafone Netherlands. I have blogged about Kufuor here, here and yesterday here.
The founder of the prize, a business man profiting on the telecom business in Africa, says in an interesting interview – to be found in whole here – about his success:
“I’m the same person. I still drive the same type of car. I live in the same house. Most of the money I made has gone back to Africa, or is going back to Africa. I decided the money will go into something really effective and worthwhile. That’s what I hope our foundation will do.”
Interestingly, the only way forward for Africa’s leaders is suggested to be the opposite: large sums of wealth.
Still, I am sure the desicion to not award the prize (“no specific reason” was given according to BBC) will give cause for debate on good governance in Africa. Which ultimaltely, in my humble opinion, is the most important goal with the prize.
Well done, Mo Ibrahim!