No Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership Awarded

For the fourth time in five years , the London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation has decided not to award its annually considered prize for excellence in African leadership.

Created by Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership recognizes a democratically elected African head of state who has left office within the last three years, has served his/her mandated term, and has demonstrated leadership in office, helping to lift people out of poverty and paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity. Recipients of the prize receive $5 million over ten years and $200,000 annually thereafter. The foundation did not elaborate on its reasons for withholding the award this year, which has been awarded three times since its creation in 2007 — most recently in 2011.

"This prize honors former heads of state or government, who, during their mandate, have demonstrated excellence in leading their country, and by doing so, serve as role models for the next generation," Salim Ahmed Salim, former secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity, a former prime minister of Tanzania, and chair of the prize committee, said in a statement. "After careful consideration, the prize committee has determined not to award the 2013 Prize for Excellence in Leadership."

In releasing the 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (summary, 44 pages, PDF) earlier this week, the foundation confirmed that while "overall governance continues to improve at the continental level," aspects of life in Africa such as personal safety and the rule of law had "declined worryingly." The foundation also noted "a widening span in performance between the best and worst governed countries" — a divergence that "may sound a warning signal, with the new century seeing fewer regional conflicts but increased domestic social unrest."