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Mo Ibrahim addresses the 2017 Tutu Fellows and delivers the Kaye Whiteman lecture

2017 Tutu Fellowships

On Thursday, 14 September, Mo Ibrahim addressed the 2017 Tutu Fellows on the leadership challenges of Africa. Mo touched on questions from the Fellows on his life as a businessman as well as the work of the Foundation.

He answered three main questions:

Is democracy essential for development?

  • Currently a question people are very much wrangling with, and whether regular elections alone are enough to say people are getting what they need.
  • Index results point to countries who have large voter turnout at the polls: but are their lives improving?
  • There are countries people point to with leaders that suppress freedom of speech of their people, but are progressing with regards to poverty and standard of living for their people.

Did you as a businessman suffer or lose out for your ethical standards?

  • No, not really, and if I did lose work, licences or contracts then I’m happy as it would have not been worth it.
  • Once you accept paying one bribe, you will always have to pay more and more people, and if you don’t you then make enemies of people who come after you if don’t pay.

What are the benefits of the Prize?

  • The great value of the Ibrahim Prize is to give outstanding leaders the chance to continue doing good work for the continent after office.
  • All of the Laureates have been able to pursue work to promote peace, education and understanding across the continent in their own and other countries – issues that are not easy and require hard work in difficult situations that their intelligence, exemplary leadership and understanding greatly benefits from.

Kaye Whiteman Lecture

Later on the day, Mo addressed the annual Kaye Whitemen Lecture hosted by the Business Council for Africa and Invest Africa. The address was followed by a Q & A session moderated by Lanre Akinola.

Dr Mo Ibrahim discussed, along with a range of topics, the key opportunities and challenges facing the private sector and best practises for sustainable investment on the continent. The event was attended by a cross-section of industry specialists and African embassies based in London. Mrs Kaye Whiteman also attended the lecture.

Mo also tackled leadership, governance, migration, business and development.

Key messages:

  • Good governance and leadership are the engine of development.
  • We require better standards from those who preach about corruption. Clean your own houses.
  • Young generation better educated, better connected and less respectful – a good thing!
  • Each corrupt leader has partners in corruption. They also need to be tackled.
  • Once you accept paying one bribe, you will always have to pay more and more people.
  • We ask businesses for ethical investment when dealing with African countries.
  • On dealing with migration: “I feel humiliation. Our people deserve better. We need to deal with governance”.