All About the Ibrahim Prize for You to Win

The Ibrahim Prize is awarded to a previous Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee. This is composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Laureates.

All About the Ibrahim Prize

The Ibrahim Prize

  • Recognizes and celebrates African executive leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy.
  • highlights exceptional role models for the continent
  • ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders
  • is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa.


  • former African Executive Head of State or Government
  • left office in the last three years
  • democratically elected
  • served his/her constitutionally mandated term
  • demonstrated exceptional leadership

With a US$5 million initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life. The prize is believed to be the world’s largest, exceeding the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize.

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership has been awarded in 2007, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2017. Former South African president Nelson Mandela was an honorary laureate.

Simultaneously with the introduction of the Ibrahim Prize in 2007, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation launched the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

The categories are: Safety and Rule of Law; Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic

Five Prize Laureates

Opportunity (infrastructure, public management, business environment; rural sector); and Human Development (education, health, and welfare).

Normally, one would expect a country’s IIAG scores and rankings during a laureate’s years of service to be high for him/her to have qualified as an exceptional leader.

It would also be reasonable to expect the scores and ranking of a laureate’s country to remain high in the immediate years (two to three) following the award.

This expectation holds true for three of the laureates: Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), Pedro Pires of Cape Verde (2011) and Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014).

Although the IIAG was only launched towards the end of Mogae’s years of service (1998-2008), Botswana was among the top four performers in 2007 and 2008 and maintained the same high performance during the immediate three years after his tenure.

Regarding President Pires of Cape Verde, IIAG scores and rankings were available during five years of his ten-year tenure (2001-2011): the country was among the top four performers during each of his years in service as well as during the immediate three years after his tenure.

(It is worth noting that both Botswana and Cape Verde have consistently ranked among the top four performers in the IIAG from 2007 to date).

Although Namibia’s scores and rankings were slightly lower than those of Botswana and Cape Verde – it is among the top eight performers – the consistency of the country’s good performance over eight years of President Pohamba’s tenure (2005-2015) must have earned him the award.

Strikingly, too, the country has remained among the top seven performers during the immediate two years after his tenure.

The two other laureates, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) and Ellen Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia (2017), were specially recognized for assuring the successful transition from conflict to peace in their respective countries.

And the logic is obvious: assuring peace and security within the territorial area of a state is an incontrovertible precondition for development.

Prize Committee

  • Salim Ahmed Salim (Chair), former Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.
  • Martti Ahtisaari
  • Aicha Bah Diallo
  • Mohamed ElBaradei
  • Horst Köhler
  • Graça Machel
  • Festus Mogae
  • Mary Robinson


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