Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a former Liberian President, she stepped down early this year at age 79 after serving two terms, recognised for her role in the recovery of Liberia from years of civil unrest, taking the nation from turmoil to stability economically earning her a Nobel Peace Prize. On April 27th, she became the first woman to receive the Mo Ibrahim Award aimed at celebrating excellence in African Leadership, the prize of 5 million dollars, paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life thereafter hasn’t been rewarded since 2014 due to no eligible candidate.
I’m honoured to be this year’s recipient of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. I receive this distinction on behalf of the many women and men who helped to navigate the profound complexities of the post-conflict country that is Liberia. As the first woman to receive this award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to break through barriers, and push back on the frontiers of life’s possibilities. We must tackle the historical disadvantages which have made women political outsiders. It is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to break through barriers and to push back the frontiers of possibilities, Said Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf plans on using the money to build the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Presidential Center for Women and Development, designed to support women as agents of change, makers of peace, and drivers of progress.
The London-based Mo Ibrahim Foundation launched the humanitarian award in 2007 to celebrate democratically elected African presidents and prime ministers who have developed their countries and followed their constitutional term mandates. Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecommunications businessman and billionaire, created the foundation bearing his name in 2006. It uses 88 criteria to rate the governance of African countries.