Namibia’s Pohamba beats Kibaki to Sh450m Mo Ibrahim prize
Namibia’s former president Hifikepunye Pohamba has bagged the lucrative Sh450 million ($5 million) Mo Ibrahim Prize, flooring Kenya’s retired president Mwai Kibaki.
The prize, which is awarded to former presidents who excelled during their reign, comes with Sh450 million ($5 million) over a period of 10 years and is the largest annually awarded cash prize in the world.
The winner announced shortly after midday Monday in Nairobi.
Pohampa will also get Sh18 million ($200,000) annually, after the end of the first payout over the 10 years, for life.
To be eligible for the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, one must be a democratically elected president who has left office within the last three years after serving their constitutionally mandated term.
They must also have demonstrated exceptional leadership by rising above constraints to develop their countries, lift people out of poverty and pave way for prosperity in the future.
Other contenders for the prize were Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and former Mozambique president Armado Guebuzza.
Pohamba inherited a rather stagnant Namibian economy slowed down by the high HIV and Aids prevalence rates and over reliance of the South African economy when he took office in 2005.
By the time he left office, the economy was growing at four percent per year courtesy of a diversified mining economy. Today, the country is one of the world’s largest producers of Uranium.
Previous winners of the award created by Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim are Pedro De Verona (Cape Verde)in 2011, Festus Gontebanye Mogae (Botswana) in 2008, Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique) in 2007 and Nelson Mandela who received a honorary prize.
The award was not given last year, 2013, 2012 and 2009.