(GIN)—Philanthropist Mo Ibrahim is finding it hard to reward a democratically elected African leader who serves his or her constitutionally mandated term (without last minute changes) and demonstrates exceptional leadership.
The $5 million prize is just too small for such a commitment.
Money held by some of Africa’s richest leaders outsizes the modest reward by factors of 10 to 1000. Presidential wealth was the focus of a recent piece in the online magazine African Spotlight, and the sums in their bank accounts are stratospheric.
The wealthiest include Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) $10 million, Idris Deby (Chad) $50 million, King Mswati (Swaziland) $100 million, Paul Biya (Cameroon) $200 million, Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) $500 million, Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) $600 million and Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola) $20 billion.
According to the website of the Ibrahim Prize, the award has the potential to change perceptions of African leadership by showcasing exceptional role models from the continent.
Past prizewinners include Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba (2014), Cape Verdean leader Pedro de Verona Rodrigues (2011), Botswana President Festus Mogae (2008) and an honorary winner, South African President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, in 2007.
Ibrahim, born in Sudan of Nubian descent, founded a successful business in mobile communications. He created the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2006 and the following year gave the first prize to Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique.