President Hifikepunye Pohamba 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, consisting of seven eminent individuals. 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.
On hearing the outcome of the Prize Committee’s deliberations, Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said:
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased that the Prize Committee has selected President Pohamba as the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate. He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy. His legacy is that of strengthened institutions through the various initiatives introduced during his tenure in office. He is a role model for the continent.
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.