By Danjuma Aliyu
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the former President of Liberia, has been awarded the $5m (£3.6m) Ibrahim prize for African Leadership.
Mrs Sirleaf, Africa’s first elected female head of state, who left office last month after serving two terms, received high praise on Monday over the extraordinary efforts she made to lead the country’s recovery following the civil war.
The 79-year-old is the fifth person to bag the converted awarded initiated by the Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim in 2006.
Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, Chair of the Prize Committee, said: “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took the helm of Liberia when it was completely destroyed by civil war and led a process of reconciliation that focused on building a nation and its democratic institutions.
“Throughout her two terms in office, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the people of Liberia. Such a journey cannot be without some shortcomings and, today, Liberia continues to face many challenges.
“Nevertheless, during her twelve years in office, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf laid the foundations on which Liberia can now build.”
Named after its creator, the award was set up to encourage good leadership in Africa.
Like other winners, the ex-president will receive a sum of $5m, which will be paid out over 10 years and then $200,000 is paid each year for life thereafter.
Other recipients includes:
2007: Mozambique’s former President Joaquim Chissano
2008: Botswana’s former President Festus Mogae
2009: No award given
2010: No award given
2011: Cape Verde’s former President Pedro Verona Pires
2012: No award given
2013: No award given
2014: Namibia’s former President Hifikipunye Pohamba
2015: No award given
2016: No award given