And The Winner Of The African Good Governance Award For 2013 Is……. Nobody


Once again, an award meant to highlight good governance on the continent of Africa goes to nobody:

LONDON — For the fourth time in five years, a prestigious multimillion-dollar prize offered to African leaders for good governance went unawarded on Monday, renewing questions about the stringency of its rules, the paucity of contenders and the state of the continent’s democracy.

The prize, named for Mo Ibrahim, a Sudan-born telecommunications billionaire, was designed to reward democratically elected African leaders who retire voluntarily at the conclusion of their mandated terms after displaying strong qualities of governance and leadership.

The prize is worth $5 million over the first 10 years, followed by stipends of at least $200,000 a year.

Since its creation seven years ago, it has been awarded three times, in 2007, 2008 and 2011. Former President Pedro Pires of Cape Verde was the most recent recipient. Former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa was given an honorary award.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation said on Monday that it had considered every African head of state or government who had retired in the past three years, but had decided not to award the prize this year.

The foundation did not elaborate on its reasons for withholding the award.

Salim Ahmed Salim, a former secretary general of the Organization of African Unity and a former prime minister of Tanzania who is the chairman of a panel set up to consider potential winners, said in a statement that the award “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.”

“After careful consideration,” he added, “the prize committee has determined not to award the 2013 Prize for Excellence in Leadership.”

Sadly, that seems to be a pretty accurate reflection of the state of politics on a continent that is home of over one billion people.

FILED UNDER: Africa, Democracy, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    My daughter spent a few months in Senegal, which has a stable government, and there are not many of those in Africa.

  2. wr says:

    Yeah, real good time to be lording the vast superiority of our governance over the rest of the world.

  3. Lounsbury says:

    Eh. No mate, it is not a good description, it does rather great disservice to countries like Senegal and Ghana, which have decent governments, even if Mo Ibrahim isn’t taken with any particular leader – speaking only to West Africa where I do business extensively and have direct experience.

    And re stable governments al Ameda is wrong, in fact since the 1990s there is a lot more stability than not. Africa (sub-Saharan) is no longer the stereotype of the 1970s-1990s.

    The basket cases are rather few now, although out right stars are limited as well.

  4. bill says:

    so africans don’t make good leaders? wow, who knew…….