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No winner for $5 million African leadership award

Justin Tallis / AFP - Getty Images

Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, speaks at the announcement of the 2012 Ibrahim Prize for achievement in African Leadership in London on Monday.

The Ibrahim Prize for good governance in Africa was not awarded for the third time in its six-year history, the BBC reported.

The $5 million award is meant to be given out annually to a democratically elected African leader who showed exceptional leadership, served only for a constitutionally-mandated term and left office during the last three years, according to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

As in 2009 and 2010, no candidate met all the criteria this year, the BBC said. Pedro Pires, former president of Cape Verde, won the prize last year, while Joaquim Chissano, former president of Mozambique, and Festus Mogae, former president of Botswana won in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

"The prize committee reviewed a number of candidates but none met all of the criteria needed to win the prize," committee member Salim Ahmed Salim said, according to the BBC.

The $5 million prize, named after the Sudan-born telecommunications businessman, is spread over 10 years and is followed by $200,000 a year for life thereafter.


Ibrahim said the panel would make no compromises and would only award the prize to a worthy, exceptional leader. 

"You make your bed, you have to lie on it. If we said we're going to have a prize for exceptional leadership, we have to stick to that. We are not going to compromise," Ibrahim said, according to the BBC.

Ibrahim believes the prize is needed to support sub-Saharan African leaders who may wish to hang on to power for fear of poverty after they leave office, the BBC said.

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