Cape Town — The outgoing president of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has been awarded Africa's premier prize for achievement in leadership, worth U.S. $5 million over ten years.
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, awarded only four times since it was inaugurated in 2007, usually recognises leaders who have stepped down voluntarily at the end of their terms.
President Pohamba joins former presidents Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in receiving the prize.
It was established by the Sudanese-born entrepreneur, Mo Ibrahim, to "recognise... and celebrate... African leaders who have developed their countries, lifted people out of poverty and paved the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity."
Announcing the award in Nairobi on Monday, prize committee chair Salim Ahmed Salim said that during the 10 years of Pohamba's presidency, "Namibia's reputation has been cemented as a well-governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights...
"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. During the decade of his Presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his Presidency."
The prize money of $5 million is paid over 10 years, followed by $200,000 a year for life.