President Hifikepunye Pohamba has been named as the winner of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. Established in 2007, the Ibrahim Prize recognises and celebrates excellence in African leadership. The Ibrahim Prize aims to encourage leaders who fully dedicate their tenure of office to surmount the development challenges of their countries, improving the livelihoods and welfare of their people and consolidating the foundation for sustainable development.
Announcing the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate in front of an audience of the diplomatic community, civil society representatives and the media at a press conference in Nairobi, Salim Ahmed Salim, the Chair of the Prize Committee, said:
“President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the Prize Committee. His ability to command the confidence and the trust of his people is exemplary. During the decade of his Presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his Presidency.”
Salim Ahmed Salim went on to praise President Pohamba’s commitment to democracy and governance. He said:
“During the decade of Hifikepunye Pohamba’s Presidency, Namibia’s reputation has been cemented as a well-‐governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights.”
The Ibrahim Laureate is selected by an independent Prize Committee, consisting of seven eminent individuals. The Prize Committee assesses democratically elected former Executive Heads of State or Government from African countries who have served their term in office within the limits set by their country’s constitution and have left office within the last three years.
The Ibrahim Prize is a US$5 million award paid over ten years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation will consider granting a further US$200,000 per year for ten years towards public interest activities and good causes espoused by the Ibrahim Laureate.
On hearing the outcome of the Prize Committee’s deliberations, Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said:
“The Mo Ibrahim Foundation is pleased that the Prize Committee has selected President Pohamba as the 2014 Ibrahim Laureate. He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy. His legacy is that of strengthened institutions through the various initiatives introduced during his tenure in office. He is a role model for the continent.
President Pohamba follows Presidents Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique (2007), Festus Mogae, Botswana (2008) and Pedro Pires, Cabo Verde (2011) as Ibrahim Laureates. Nelson Mandela was made the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007. In 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 the Prize Committee, after in-‐depth review, did not select a winner.
Citation of the Prize Committee
This award from an African foundation is a celebration of achievement in African leadership on the African continent.
The Prize Committee has decided to award the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership to President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia.
President Pohamba’s focus in forging national cohesion and reconciliation at a key stage of Namibia’s consolidation of democracy and social and economic development impressed the Prize Committee. His ability to command the confidence and the trust of his people is exemplary. During the decade of his Presidential mandate, he demonstrated sound and wise leadership. At the same time, he maintained his humility throughout his Presidency.
He was deeply committed to the rule of law and to respect for the constitution, in particular on the issue of term limit. The Prize Committee also commends his respect for political opposition. His particular emphasis on issues of gender equality led to the notable achievement that 48% of Namibia’s parliamentarians are female.
Focused investment on health and education by his government has reaped benefits. High literacy has been augmented by primary school enrolment of almost 100% due to the abolition of school fees, a measure due to be extended to secondary schools next year. One of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world has been addressed through an effective national mobilisation plan led under his personal authority. Over 80% of people living with HIV now receive anti-‐retroviral therapy. HIV infections fell by an estimated 36% between 2005 and 2013 and mother-‐to-‐child transmission rates are now below 4%.
Namibia’s macroeconomic performance, even through a period of global economic turbulence, and achievement of higher middle-‐income status, reflected sound public management. This included a focus on diversifying the Namibian economy, with an emphasis on greater domestic processing, manufacturing and on investment in infrastructure. Efforts to tackle poverty were noted, specifically a pension system and comprehensive social safety nets and disability grants. However, the Prize Committee is conscious that this very young nation still faces considerable challenges, in particular widening economic and social inequality.
During the decade of Hifikepunye Pohamba’s Presidency, Namibia’s reputation has been cemented as a well-‐governed, stable and inclusive democracy with strong media freedom and respect for human rights. At a time of global uncertainty, this sustained progress to a unified and cohesive nation, at such an important moment in Namibia’s transition, reinforced the conviction of the Prize Committee that President Pohamba is a worthy winner of the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
Issued by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation