President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia has been named as the winner of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Prize recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership. The Ibrahim 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.
Announcing the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate in front of an audience of the diplomatic community, civil society representatives and the media at a press conference in Nairobi, Salim Ahmed Salim, the Chair of the Prize Committee, said:
“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.”
Salim Ahmed Salim went on to praise President Pohamba’s commitment to democracy and governance.
He said: “During the decade of Hifikepunye 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 Laureate is selected by an independent Prize Committee of seven. The Prize 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.
The Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will consider granting a further US$200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.
President Pohamba follows Presidents Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique (2007), Festus Mogae, Botswana (2008) and Pedro Pires, Cabo Verde (2011) as Ibrahim Laureates. 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.
Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba is a Namibian politician who has been President of Namibia since March 2005. He won the 2004 election overwhelmingly as the candidate of SWAPO, the ruling party, and he was re-elected in the 2009 election. Born in August 18, 1935 (age 79) his term will end on March 21, 2015.
Members of Prize Committee are:
Salim Ahmed Salim, Chairperson of the Prize Committee, former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity and former Prime Minister of Tanzania (and Board member of the Foundation) ;
Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and Nobel Laureate;
Aïcha Bah Diallo, former Minister of Education, Guinea and Chair of Forum of African Women Educationalists;
Graça Machel, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, and former Minister of Education and Culture, Mozambique;
Mohamed ElBaradei, former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Laureate;
Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and Chairperson of the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa;
Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change (and Board member of the Foundation).
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa. It was founded and is chaired by Mo Ibrahim.