Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Becomes First Woman to win the Mo Ibrahim Prize

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The former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has reacted to winning the Ibrahim prize.

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.

“Indeed, my most proud accomplishment is that after 30 years of conflict, the power in Liberia now rests where it should – with the people, grounded in rule of law, and in strong institutions,” Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said in a message sent to journalists on her selection.

Read her full statement below.

It is an honour to have been selected for the Ibrahim Prize for African Leadership. By choice, I have led a life of service and sacrifice on behalf of the Liberian people, and I will remain forever grateful to them for the privilege to serve.

As the first woman to receive the award, it is my hope that women and girls across Africa will be inspired to reach for their true potential, to navigate the challenges, break through barriers, and to pursue their dreams. Where there is a first, there comes a second, and a third, and a fourth.

I am thankful that the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, in granting me this honour, has sought to emphasise the consolidation of Liberia as a democratic state under my two terms in office. Indeed, my most proud accomplishment is that after 30 years of conflict, the power in Liberia now rests where it should – with the people, grounded in rule of law, and in strong institutions.

And I note with pride that Liberia was the only country on the continent to improve in every category and sub-category of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance – a testament to all those who served in my government.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation continues to be a transformative force on the continent. They have changed the conversation about leadership. This is a discussion that I will continue to carry forward in my post-presidency years.

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