The former UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan, will be joined by five international statesmen on the Prize Committee that will nominate the recipient of the largest prize in the world - the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African leadership.
The announcement was made after the Prize Committee met for the first time last weekend in Geneva, Switzerland.
Worth US$5 million dollars over 10 years and US$200,000 annually for life thereafter, the Prize is open to former heads of state or government from sub-Saharan Africa who have left office in the last three years and demonstrated exemplary leadership.
On the committee with Mr Annan is Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland and former UN special envoy to Kosovo, Aicha Bah Diallo, former Minister of Education in Guinea and Director of Basic Education at UNESCO and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister and Foreign Minister of Nigeria.
Others are Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (and board member of the Foundation) and Salim Salim, former Prime Minister of Tanzania and former Secretary-General of the Organisation for African Unity (and board member of the Foundation).
The committee will assess every African leader who has left office in the last three years on their exercise of leadership. The Foundation will announce the first winner of the prize on 22nd October 2007.
The committee will draw on research from the Ibrahim Index of African governance, and assess the quality of governance in the areas of economic and social development, peace and security; human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
The Prize aims to encourage leaders who fully dedicate their constitutional 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.
Speaking in Geneva at the announcement of the Committee, Mr Annan said: "The task that lies before us - identifying the best in African leadership - is challenging. While developed countries have an important role to play in creating an enabling environment for Africa's development, it is for Africa to lead and take ownership of Africa's development process.
Good governance and leadership are central to finding solutions to the vast challenges that face Africa. We hope that the Mo Ibrahim Prize will help to energize African leadership and encourage a new generation of young leaders to step up to this most urgent of challenges."
Dr. Mo Ibrahim, founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, said: "I am delighted to have all these people here today. The Foundation will benefit enormously from the insight and experience of Mr Annan, Mr Artisaahri, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, Mrs Diallo, Mrs Robinson and Mr Salim. With this Prize and the Ibrahim Index, we hope to make a unique contribution to assessing governance and recognising leadership in Africa."
Culled from the Accra Daily Mail