The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announced that the seven-member prize committee could not find a winner for the 2015 award because no President in Africa met the criteria.


The award which is to honor former African heads of state who have excelled in leadership has been awarded four times since it was established in 2006 but has not found a winner since 2014.

The business mogul Mo Ibrahim told the BBC the biggest concern is that there is a leadership challenge on the continent.

“There is an issue about excellence in leadership and it is not an African phenomenon but a global one. Look at Europe, look at Asia over the nine could they have picked up five exceptional leaders in Asia or Europe?” he said.

He told Sophie Ikenye that it is not an ideal situation that the Foundation is expecting that an African leader must win it every year.

“It is not that because we are Africans we have to accept some standards; excellence means excellence and it is a price for excellence. It is not an entitlement or a pension,” Mr Ibrahim explained.

According to him, the award is to give those leaders the opportunity to continue to serve the public ostensibly because “our leaders when they leave office they don’t have the opportunities leaders in Europe or North America have. They don’t have directorship in big organizations, banks, etcetera.”

Some past winners include; Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique (2007), Nelson Mandela also got an honorary award (2007), Festus Gontebanye Mogae of Botswana (2008), Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires (2011) and Hifikipunye Lucas Pohamba (2014).

In 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 the Prize Committee, after in-depth review, did not select a winner.

Price Criteria

The leader must be a former African executive Head of State or Government who should have left office in the last three years.

Also, the leader should have been democratically elected, served his or her constitutionally mandated term and demonstrated exceptional leadership.


The award recognises and celebrates African executive leaders who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity

Also, it highlights exceptional role models for the continent and ensures that the African continent will continue to benefit from the experience and wisdom of these exceptional leaders

It is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa and it is not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year.

The Prize amount is $5million over ten years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter.