Mo Ibrahim Foundation to hold press confab in London

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will hold a press conference in London on Monday, June 14, 2010, to announce this year’s Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to the

world’s media.

The Ibrahim Prize is worth US$5,000,000 over ten years and US$200,000 a year for life. A further US$200,000 a year, for ten years and is also available for public interest activities and good causes espoused by the winner.

It is conferred on a democratically elected former executive head of state or government from a sub-Saharan African country who has served a constitutionally mandated term and has left office in the last three years.

The foundation is committed to supporting great African leadership that will improve the economic and social prospects of the people of Africa.

In letters and emails to the media, the foundation named the Chairman of the Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation as Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate.

Other members include, Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and United Nations special envoy to Kosovo, Aïcha Bah Diallo, former Minister of Education in Guinea and Director of Basic Education at UNESCO, and Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The rest are Graça Machel, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and former Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity and former Prime Minister of Tanzania.

Last year, in what appeared as a snub to recent ex-presidents and heads of state in Africa, the Sudanese-born British mobile communications entrepreneur told the world media in a packed press conference in London, his prize committee “considered some credible candidates, but could not select a winner.”

He said all the three ex-Heads of State shortlisted for the 2009 award but did not win, could still be considered for this year’s (2010) award.

The speculations therefore were that this year’s candidates may include last year’s candidates who were Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo, South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and Ghana’s John Agyekum Kufuor.

Launched in 2006, the Mo Ibrahim foundation was designed to encourage good governance in Africa and to hand out the world’s largest annually awarded prize.

Past winners include Festus Mogae, the former president of Botswana, Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique, and Nelson Mandela, who was made an honorary laureate in recognition of his “extraordinary leadership qualities”.

Story by Nana Sifa Twum, London