Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first ever female president in Africa, has won the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Leadership prize.
According to Guardian UK, the former Liberian president has become the fifth person to win the annual prize for achievement in African leadership since its launch in 2006.
The prize is named after Sudanese telecommunication mogul, Mo Ibrahim, and the prize carries a cash award of $5 Million paid out over a period of 10 years, and then $200, 000 given each year for the rest of the winner’s life.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Johnson-Sirleaf emerged the president of Liberia in 2006, three years after the country’s second civil war ended. She got re-elected for a second term in 2011.
“Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focussed on building a nation and its democratic institutions,” Salim Ahmed Salim, the head of the prize committee, said in a statement.
Adding, “Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build.”
Other former leaders who had won the coveted prize include, president Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), president Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), president Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), and president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007).
Nelson Mandela was the inaugural honorary laureate in 2007.