Former Namibian President is Recipient of World's Biggest Prize

On March 2, 2015 the Mo Ibrahim Foundation officially awarded former Namibia president Hifikepunye Pohamba the 2014 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. According to the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Ibrahim Prize is “the largest annually awarded prize in the world, consisting of $5 million over ten years and $200,000 per year for life thereafter.” The foundation maintains that the recipient of the Ibrahim Prize must be a democratically elected Executive Head of State of an African country, must have left peaceably left off office in the last three years, and must have “demonstrated exceptional leadership” among other qualifications. Hifikepunye Pohamba was one of the founding members of SWAPO, the lead party for Namibian independence from South Africa. He was jailed in 1962 for political activism against the South African government. Pohamba later became Namibia’s second president in 2004 and was re-elected to a second, five-year term in 2009. In 2015, Pohamba was peacefully succeeded by Hage Geingob. Salim Ahmed Salim, the Chair of the Prize Committee, says, “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.” Mo Ibrahim, the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, also commented on Pohamba’s accomplishments. “He has served his country since its independence and his leadership has renewed his people’s trust in democracy.” Pohamba intends to use the prize money to fund the Hifikepunye Pohamba Foundation, a source of money to encourage underprivileged youth to pursue higher education. Pohamba is only the third leader to have received the prestigious award in the last seven years. The last recipient was Pedro de Verona Rodrigues Pires of Cape Verde in 2011.