Liberia’s former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has been awarded the Mo Ibrahim prize for African Leadership.
The former president of Liberia received the award for the work she did related to rebuilding her country after it was torn apart by civil war and for leading the process of reconciliation.
Former President Sirleaf is the fifth recipient of the award, which celebrates leaders who have governed well and raised the standard of living for their citizens prior to leaving office.
Sirleaf served as leader of the west African nation for two terms, and as a result, could not run again in the 2017 polls. She has received criticism for tolerating corruption, but the prize committee said that she had shown exceptional leadership amidst very trying circumstances.
They added that Liberia is the only nation – out of 54 African nations – to have improved in every category and sub-category examined by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.
The prize is worth $5-million, and is spread over 10 years, followed by a lifetime stipend of $200 000 per year for life.
The prize has been awarded since 2007, but on six occasions has not been handed out as no leader was found to be worthy of the award.
The first winner was Mozambique’s former President Joaquim Chissano, followed by former Botswana President Festus Mogae in 2008, Cape Verde’s former President Pedro Verona Pires in 2011 and Namibia’s former President Hifikipunye Pohamba in 2014. The prize was not awarded in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.