Posts tagged africa
“ We’ve all seen advocates who have a lot to say, but when I really drill down with them, I don’t have any kind of clear sense of where their opinions are coming from.”
“ This prize is for excellent leadership, for people who transformed their countries. I will go back to my prize committee and recommend that this prize, which was not offered this year [to an African leader], will be offered to the European leader who came to office in the last ten years and transformed his or her country. Can you please give me a name?”
That’s Sudanese telecom billionaire and sarcasm enthusiast Mo Ibrahim, as quoted in this week’s New Yorker profile. The “prize” he mentions is the Ibrahim Prize, which “bestows five million dollars on an African leader who is elected to office, promotes democracy, does not steal from the people, and cedes power peacefully.”
Ibrahim was successful way before people started talking about “social media revolutions” — he built the infrastructure that allowed cell phones to revolutionize life across Africa and for that he gets to say what he wants about heads of state on any continent. And the point he’s making here is easily missed if you all read is the “misery porn” reporting that comes out of Africa.
Every year Ibrahim scours Africa looking for great transformative leaders, and he’s found two in four years. Can you point to any from the past four years in Europe? In the Americas?
BATTLE SCENE: An al-Shabaab fighter ran for cover near a burnt-out African Union military tank in Mogadishu, Somalia, Friday. Dozens of civilians have been killed in recent clashes between rebel and government forces in the capital. (Feisal Omar/Reuters)