The Prize Committee of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announces that Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
former President of Liberia, is the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership
The Prize Committee found that, confronted with unprecedented and renewed challenges,
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf demonstrated exceptional and transformative leadership.
She took over a country that was devastated and broken by 14 years of civil war, and was
later struck again by the Ebola crisis.
Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings. Today, Liberia continues to face many
Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on
which Liberia can now build. In the process, she restored Liberians’ dignity and pride in their
Throughout her time in office, she staunchly maintained her priorities and her determination
to succeed on behalf of the people of Liberia.
Since 2006, Liberia is the only country, out of 54, to improve in every category and sub-
category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.
From 2006 to 2014, before the Ebola crisis hit the country, the Liberian economy grew at an
average annual rate of over 7%.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf endured imprisonment, exile, and personal risk on the road to
leadership, and yet persevered in her demand for honest government for her people.
She courageously embraced opponents and fought for generational change, and paved the
way for her successor to follow.
Her achievements have inspired and given confidence to millions of women in public service.
Apart from her leadership in her country, she has always been a champion for Africa. Her
success is Africa’s success and testament to the power of exceptional leadership.
Today, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stands tall in victory, as the recipient of the 2017 Ibrahim Prize
for Achievement in African Leadership.