Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Mo Ibrahim (Uppsala, Sept. 2014)

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation was established in 2006 with a focus on the critical importance of leadership and governance in Africa.

It was founded by Dr. Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese philanthropist and businessman who founded telecommunications company Celtel International in 1998.

Dr. Ibrahim is the Chair of the Board. Other Board members are Lord Simon Cairns, Nathalie Delapalme, Hadeel Ibrahim, Abdoulie Janneh, Sir Ketumile Masire, Jay Naidoo, Mary Robinson and Salim Ahmed Salim.[1]

The Foundation’s Secretariat is based in London.


The stated aims of the foundation are to "bring about meaningful change on the continent, by providing tools to support progress in leadership and governance".[2]

The Foundation, which is a non-grant making organisation, focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through four main initiatives:

The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership

The Ibrahim Prize celebrates excellence in African leadership. It is awarded to a former Executive Head of State or Government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures, including two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

The Ibrahim Prize:

• recognises and celebrates African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity 2008

• highlights exceptional role models for the continent

• ensures that Africa continues to benefit from the experience and expertise of exceptional leaders when they leave national office, by enabling them to continue in other public roles on the continent

With a $5 million initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life, the Prize is believed to be the world's largest, exceeding the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize. Former South African President Nelson Mandela, former United States President Bill Clinton, and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan are among those who have welcomed the initiative.[3]

The winner of the Prize is chosen by an independent Prize Committee. The Committee is chaired by Salim Ahmed Salim, who took over from former chair Kofi Annan in 2011.[4] Other members of the Committee are Festus Mogae, Martti Ahtisaari, Mohamed ElBaradei, Mary Robinson, Aïcha Bah Diallo and Graça Machel.

The Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in African countries. Compiled by combining over 100 variables from more than 30 independent African and global institutions, the IIAG is the most comprehensive collection of data on African governance.

The IIAG provides a framework for citizens, governments, institutions and the private sector to accurately assess the delivery of public goods and services, and policy outcomes, across the continent. As well as being a tool to help determine and debate government performance, the IIAG is a decision-making instrument with which to govern.

The Foundation defines governance as the provision of the political, social and economic goods that a citizen has the right to expect from his or her state, and that a state has the responsibility to deliver to its citizens. The IIAG assesses progress under four main conceptual categories: Safety & Rule of Law, Participation & Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development. These four pillars are populated with data that cover governance elements ranging from infrastructure to freedom of expression and sanitation to property rights.

The IIAG allows users to benchmark governance performance across a number of dimensions at the national, regional and continental levels. Scores and ranks are available for all years from 2000, enabling the analysis of trends over time. All of the underlying data used in the construction of the IIAG are freely available and transparently published alongside a comprehensive methodology.

The IIAG is compiled using many international and African sources. A full list of sources can be found at

It was first published in 2007 in partnership with Kennedy School of Government Professor Robert I. Rotberg and ranked the performance of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The Index is now compiled by a research team based at the Foundation under the guidance of an Advisory Council,composed of eminent academic and professional experts in the various fields of governance and is a forum to debate and improve the IIAG.[12] In 2009, the Index included all 53 African countries for the first time, including those in North Africa.

The Ibrahim Forum

The Ibrahim Forum is an annual high-level discussion forum tackling issues of critical importance to Africa. The Forum convenes prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa’s major international partners to identify specific policy challenges and priorities for action. A detailed, data driven analysis of each Forum issue is compiled by the Foundation in advance as the basis for an informed and constructive debate.

Previous Forums have dealt with: Africa: The next 50 years (2013 hosted in Addis Ababa), African Youth (2012 hosted in Dakar), African Agriculture (2011 hosted in Tunis) and African Regional Economic Integration (2010 hosted in Mauritius).

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships and Scholarships

The Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships form a selective programme designed to mentor future African leaders. The Fellows receive mentoring from the current leaders of key multilateral institutions.

From 2011 – 2013 Fellows were hosted at AfDB, UNECA and WTO. From 2014 onwards the WTO was replaced by a Fellowship at the ITC.

The Ibrahim Scholarships were established in 2007, to support and develop the talent of outstanding young Africans in selected disciplines. Current partnerships are with AUC, LBS, SOAS and the University of Birmingham.


  1. "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board".
  2. "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation: About".
  3. "Prize offered to Africa's leaders, BBC News, 26.10.2006". 2006-10-26.
  4. "Salim Ahmed Salim appointed Mo Ibrahim Prize Committee chair, Afrique Avenir, 22.02.2011".
  5. "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize, BBC News, 22.10.2007". 2007-10-22.
  6. "Nelson Mandela named Honorary Laureate by Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Modern Ghana, 03.12.2007".
  7. "Botswana's Mogae wins $5m prize, BBC (UK), 20.10.2008". BBC News. 2008-10-20.
  8. "Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces decision not to award 2010 Ibrahim Prize, APPA Blog, 13.06.2010".
  9. "Mo Ibrahim: Why no one got a prize this year, The Independent, 15.10.2005". London. 2010-06-15.
  10. "Cape Verde ex-leader Pedro Pires wins Mo Ibrahim prize". BBC News. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
  11. "Party time in Tunis Artists, Richard Dowden's Africa blog, 23.11.2011".
  12. "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Technical Committee".
  13. "It's better to be out to sea, The Economist, 29.09.2007".
  14. "The Big Question: Is political and economic stability beginning to take root in Africa?, The Independent, 07.10.2008". London.
  15. "Who's Doing Well in Africa. Look South, The Economist, 01.10.2009". 2009-10-01.
  16. "Africans see economic gains, democracy losses, Mail & Guardian, 04.22.2010".
  17. "Ex-Cape Verde leader wins $5m African governance prize, AFP, 10.10.11".
  18. "Winners and losers of Mo Ibrahim's African governance index".
  19. List of African Countries by Index of Governance 2013

External links

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