Liberian President 1st Woman to Win $5 Million Leadership Prize

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February 12, 2018

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, until recently the President of Liberia, has achieved another first. The first female leader of her country, she is also now the first woman to win the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Sirleaf united her country after a period of civil war and served two terms as President of Liberia and left office in January 2018. She was succeeded by George Weah, a former soccer player.

Sirleaf was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, along with Leymah Gbowee, a Liberian peace activist, and Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkul Karman.

The prize, founded by billionaire Mohammed Ibrahim, carries with it a $5 million prize that is paid out over 10 years; then, the recipient receives a further annual prize of $200,000 for the rest of his or her life.

Winners must be former African heads of state. The prize was first given in 2007, to Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique). Former South African President Nelson Mandela was given an honorary version of the award in the same year.

The foundation has not given the award every year. Other previous winners are Festus Mogae (Botswana, 2008), Pedro Pires (Cape Verde, 2011), and Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia, 2014).

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