Addis Ababa — Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, on Thursday congratulated former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, for being named winner of the 2017 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
Ms. Songwe said President Sirleaf, who chairs the ECA supported High Level Panel on Migration (HLPM), led by example throughout her time in office as Africa's first democratically elected female president.
"She is a trailblazer and joins an elite club of a few former presidents who have left office after doing all they could to uplift their countries and the continent and for that we celebrate her," she said, adding the former president inspired many women on the continent and beyond through her work and selfless dedication to serving not only Liberian people but the African continent as a whole.
Ms. Songwe said the ECA is proud to be associated with Ms. Sirleaf as she now leads Africa's migration campaign, which seeks to identify and articulate key issues that form the African migration story, challenges and priorities that need urgent attention. Under her able leadership, the HLPM will deliver on its mandate of advocating, sensitizing and disseminating key messages emerging from rigorous research and consultations undertaken by experts.
The High-Level Panel on Migration was established at the Ninth Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration and the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Addis Ababa in April 2016. The High Level Panel on Migration will have a busy 2018 as it works to ensure that Africa's narratives and priorities are adequately reflected in the global discourses and responses on migrations.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said, among other reasons, it awarded Ms. Sirleaf the coveted honour for her 'exceptional and transformative leadership, in the face of unprecedented and renewed challenges, to lead Liberia's recovery following many years of devastating civil war'.
"In very difficult circumstances, she helped guide her nation towards a peaceful and democratic future, paving the way for her successor to follow," said Mr. Mo Ibrahim.
President Sirleaf, who served two terms as President of Liberia from 2006 to 2017, joins Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), Pedro Pires of Cabo Verde (2011), Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008) and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) as an Ibrahim Prize Laureate. Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007.
The Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will consider granting a further US$200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.
The candidates for the Ibrahim Prize are all former African executive heads of state or government who have left office during the last three calendar years, having been democratically elected and served their constitutionally mandated term.