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Liberia's Sirleaf wins African leadership prize
February 24, 2018, 2:44 pm

The 2017 ‘Mo Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership’ has been awarded to Africa’s first female president and former-president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

Announcing the award, the prize committee praised Ms. Sirleaf’s work in rebuilding Liberia after the civil war and for leading the process of reconciliation in the country. The committee also pointed out that Liberia was the only country on the continent to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

Following her election as Africa’s first female president in 2006, Ms. Sirleaf served two terms in office before stepping down last month to make way for former US footballer and newly elected President George Weah. 

The prize committee admitted that while Ms. Sirleaf was accused of tolerating corruption, she had shown exceptional leadership in difficult circumstances. The former president is the fifth recipient of the prize, which honors African leaders who governed well, raised living standards of the people and then stepped down at the end of their term in office.

The prize was first awarded in 2007 and since then there have been only four winners; on six occasions no African leader was considered worthy of the annual award. Other recipients of the award include former presidents, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007; Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008; Pedro Verona Pires of Cape Verde (2011) and Hifikipunye Pohamba of Namibia in 2014. 

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