African Billionaire Creates Cash Prize for Worthy African Leaders

African Billionaire Creates Cash Prize for Worthy African Leaders

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mo-ibrahim-logoAn African business leader who sold his cell phone network for $3 billion, has launched a radical new prize for Africa’s presidents, awarding them $5 million when they practice good governance and a pension for life. Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair are pledging their support…

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The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will reward worthy African leaders with the largest prize in the world — US$5 million dollars over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter.

"We are African, this is African money, this is an African Foundation, and we are taking care of our own business," said Mo Ibrahim, who launched his foundation Friday. "We need to do something ourselves. We can’t just sit there and wait for someone to do something for us."

The prize is particularly designed to urge African heads of state to step aside when their term is up rather than clinging to power. It encourages the improvement in the lives of ordinary people. If no leader meets the award’s criteria, no prize will be given.

"Leadership is important everywhere but especially so in Africa," said former U.S President Bill Clinton. "The tasks facing leaders in Africa are challenging, and the lives of many millions of people will depend upon the performance of those leaders. It follows that we should strive to recognise and reward those successful leaders who are able to deliver tangible results for their citizens."

The assessment of leadership across the continent will be based on a rigorous new index to measure good governance on a country-by-country basis developed under the direction of Prof. Robert Rotberg, at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. The first award is scheduled to be announced late next year.

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