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Meet our Ibrahim Prize Laureates – Festus Gontebanye Mogae

The Ibrahim Leadership Prize for Achievement in African Leadership celebrates excellence. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures.

Since its inception in 2007, the Ibrahim Prize has been awarded to six Laureates from across Africa. Through their work, these Laureates are continuously contributing to the transformation of the continent. We are spotlighting some of their stories.

What have you been involved with since winning the Prize?

I have been involved in peace-building and peace-making work. In 2013, I was part of the African Union (AU) High Level Panel for Egypt. Between 2015-2018, I was the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), monitoring the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS).

I have also been the leader of several election observation missions under the Commonwealth, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), respectively, to Nigeria (2011 and 2019), Kenya (2013) and Lesotho (2015).

Between 2008-2019, I chaired the Champions for an AIDS-free Generation in Africa. This is a group of former presidents and influential African leaders committed to an AIDS-free generation, who collectively and individually rally and support regional leaders towards ending the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat. Champions transcend political partisanship to speak freely and independently about the issues that need solutions, both publicly and behind the scenes.

How useful is the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) in informing the Prize?

The IIAG provides a comprehensive assessment of delivery in governance, measured across four key components that effectively provide indicators of a country’s Overall Governance performance, which in turn inform the Prize. These categories are: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. The Ibrahim Prize is awarded based on a criteria for excellence in leadership. The Index is a useful, but not the sole, tool to inform this.

Africa is increasingly becoming a key player on the global stage; how can the continent harness the opportunities this presents?

This is possible through concerted efforts to strengthen and nurture democratic processes in respective countries. The most important consideration is to ensure that Africa has strong institutions, rather than stronger individuals. It is also critical to ensure that there is accountability at all levels of leadership.