Hifikepunye Pohamba, the former President of Namibia, last night accepted the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership at a special ceremony in Accra, Ghana.
The Ibrahim Prize recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is an annual US$5 million award paid over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter.
Presenting the award to President Pohamba, Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the independent 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.”
Accepting the Award, President Pohamba said: “This honour is not for me alone. I accept it with a sense of great humility, on behalf of the Namibian people, who entrusted me, through democratic processes, to lead our country as President for two consecutive terms. Their commitment to uphold democracy and the rule of law, made the modest achievements that were recorded during my tenure of office possible.”
Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: “We need to change the narrative about African leadership. The world knows everything about our bad leaders, but nothing about our heroes, especially those who are doing wonderful things for their people. We need role models – we need heroes – to inspire and motivate our young people. President Pohamba is one of the unsung heroes of Africa.”
The Ibrahim Prize Ceremony kicks off the 2015 Governance Weekend, a series of events and debates organised by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. On Saturday 21 November, the Ibrahim Forum will bring together experts from across Africa and the world to discuss African urban dynamics. It will be followed by a free concert in Accra’s Independence Square involving Angelique Kidjo, Sarkodie, Stonebwoy, Youssou N’Dour and others. On Sunday 22 November, TP Mazembe from Democratic Republic of Congo will compete against Ghana Dream Team for the Ibrahim Cup in a special football match at Accra Stadium.