Liberia's Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf wins Mo Ibrahim prize for African Leadership

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awarded $5m Ibrahim African leadership prize

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf awarded $5m Ibrahim African leadership prize

The 79-year-old Nobel laureate came to power in 2006, just two years after the end of a 14-year civil war that saw more than 250,000 people killed and another million displaced.

Liberia's ex-president Ellen Sirleaf Johnson has been awarded the 2017 Mo Ibrahim prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced on Monday on its website.

The continent's first ever female head of state becomes only the fifth victor of the annual Ibrahim pPrize for achievement in African leadership since its launch in 2006, as it is only given out when there is deemed to be a worthy candidate.

She 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.

The Prize Committee praised her for leading Liberia as it recovered from civil war and "working tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia".

Salim Ahmed Salim, the head of the prize committee, said: "Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focussed on building a nation and its democratic institutions". Such a journey can not be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges.

The prize committee admitted that Liberia was the only country on the continent that showed improvement in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

The prestigious award is named after Sudanese-British billionaire Mohammed Ibrahim and selects from African heads of state or government who served their constitutionally-mandated terms and left office in the last three years.

The Sh502 million award is spread over a period of 10 year and is followed with Sh20 million a year for life.

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