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And the Winner is….Mo Ibrahim Prize Announced!

October 11, 2011

The committee for the Mo Ibrahim Prize announcing the winner of this year: President Pedro Verona Pires of Cape Verde.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation, one of this year’s Common Ground Award recipients, has announced its winner for the Ibrahim Prize. Established to recognize and celebrate excellence in African leadership, the Ibrahim Prize is an annual US$5 million award paid over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Foundation has not awarded the prize annually due to lack of acceptable candidates but after two years they have announced a winner: former President of Cape Verde, Pedro Verona Pires.

The prize ceremony to confer the Ibrahim Prize will take place in Tunis, Tunisia on 12 November 2011

Pedro Pires has helped guide Cape Verde from before its birth as a separate nation. Prominent in the struggle for independence, he was appointed Cape Verde’s first Prime Minister in 1975. He remained in the post for 16 years and helped pave the way for the country’s first democratic elections in 1991 when his African Party of Independence of Cape Verde lost office. Ten years later he was elected as President and served two terms.

As The Australian points out, during his ten years of Presidency Pires emphasized macro-economic management, good governance and the responsible use of donor support to improve infrastructure, build up the country’s tourism industry and prioritize social development.

The result is that Cape Verde is now seen as an African success story, economically, socially and politically. According to the IMF, real GDP grew annually between 2000 and 2009 by over six percent, well-above the average for both sub-Saharan African and small island economies.

Per capita incomes rose by 181% over the same period. President Pires invested this increased prosperity in improving the social capital of his citizens. Cape Verde has a literacy rate of over 80 percent and life expectancy of more than 70 years. Although poverty and unemployment remain a challenge, the country is well on track to meet its targets under the Millennium Development Goals.

The New York Times writes, that Mister Pires resisted suggestions that his country’s Constitution could be changed to allow him to run again, a further point in his favor, The Foundation said. Pires was truly a model for good governance and helped the country transition to a multi-party state the chair of the prize committee and former Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity and former Prime Minister of Tanzania, Salim Ahmed Salim, said.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation strives to support good governance and excellence in leadership in Africa, and it is for this that they will be honored by SFCG. Along with the Ibrahim Prize the Foundation also publishes the Ibrahim Index, which scores African countries on how they govern. SFCG congratulates President Pires on the Ibrahim Prize and is happy to honor the work of the organization that so generously supports the efforts of African leaders for good governance.

You can still reserve a seat to attend the CG Awards ceremony and see the Mo Ibrahim Foundation accept their Common Ground Award!

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