Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia – 2017 Ibrahim Prize Laureate

The Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The Ibrahim Prize has the potential to change perceptions of African leadership by showcasing exceptional role models from the continent. The significance of the Prize lies not only with its winners but also with the conversation around leadership that it generates.

“Ellen Johnson 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. 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.” – Salim Ahmed Salim – Chair, Prize Committee

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf wins 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

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MIF defines leadership as the ability to make choices, assess and take risks, define and order priorities.

The Prize:

  • 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
  • highlights exceptional role models for the continent
  • ensures that the African continent continues to benefit from the experience and wisdom of exceptional leaders once they have left national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent
  • is an award and a standard for excellence in leadership in Africa, and not a ‘first prize’, there is not necessarily a Laureate every year.

Prize criteria

  • Former African executive head of state or government
  • left office in the last three years
  • democratically elected
  • served his/her constitutionally mandated term
  • demonstrated exceptional leadership.


  • $5million USD over ten years
  • $200,000 USD per year for life thereafter.