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Through the annual Prize for Leadership Achievement in African Leadership program, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation awarded Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba the Ibrahim Prize on March 2 naming him the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate. The prize aims to encourage leaders who fully dedicate their tenure of office to surmount the development challenges of their countries, improving the livelihoods and welfare of their people and consolidating the foundation for sustainable development.
The award was presented to Pohamba by the Chair of the Prize Committee, Salim Ahmed Salim, at a press conference held in Nairobi, Kenya.
“President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the ‎Prize Committee. His ability to command the confidence and the trust of his people is exemplary. During the decade of his Presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his presidency,” said Salim Ahmed Salim.
He also stated that during Pohamba’s presidency Namibia’s reputation has been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.
The Ibrahim Prize is a USD 5 million award paid over ten years and USD 200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will consider granting a further USD 200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes adopted by the Ibrahim Laureate.
“The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased that the Prize Committee has selected President Pohamba as the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate. He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy. His legacy is that of strengthened institutions through the various initiatives introduced during his tenure in office. He is a role model for the continent” Mo Ibrahim stated.
The Ibrahim Laureate is selected by an independent Prize Committee, consisting of seven eminent individuals. The committee assesses democratically elected former Executive Heads of State or Government from African countries who have served their term in office within the limits set by their country’s constitution and have left office within the last three years.
Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007. In 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 the Prize Committee, after in-depth review, did not select a winner. Other presidents that won the prize includes Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007, Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008, and Pedro Pires of CapeVerde in 2011.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 by Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire Mo Ibrahim. The foundation focuses on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa.