Former Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has been awarded the 2017 Mo Ibrahim prize for Achievement in African Leadership. This announcement was made following a meeting of members of the prize committee.
Johnson was praised for her exceptional leadership and transformative leadership despite the challenges that Liberia faced. She had led the country following a long period of civil war; and helped to make the country one of the most stable democracies in Africa.
Why Madame Johnson Won the Mo Ibrahim Prize
“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institutions,” said Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee as the decision was announced.
“Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges. Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build.”
Johnson was first elected president of Liberia in 2005. She served her first term between 2006 and 2011. Johnson won re-election and served her second stint between 2012 and 2017.
She is the fifth recipient of the Mo Ibrahim Prize. The Mo Ibrahim prize aims to distinguish leaders who during their term in office, developed their countries, upheld democracy and diginified human rights for the benefit of their people.
Madame Johnson joins the likes of Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014), Pedro Pires of Cape Verde (2011), Festus Mogae of Botswana (2008), and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique (2007) as Mo Ibrahim Prize Laureate. Nelson Mandela was named the inaugural Honorary laureate in 2007.