Botswana’s former President Festus Mogae has been appointed chair of the committee that decides winners of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, the foundation announced.
The former President, who chaired the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Committee on South Sudan peace until August 2018, succeeds Salim Ahmed Salim, who served from 2011-2019.
The committee awards winners of an award often described as the African Nobel Prize.
It often works independently of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to review all eligible candidates for the Ibrahim Prize to recognise exceptional political leadership in Africa.
The prize was launched in 2006, the inaugural winner being Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
Former South African President Nelson Mandela was given an honorary prize in 2007.
Only five other African leaders have won the prize.
Eligible candidates are often those who led through their terms and handed over power peacefully, respecting the constitutional term limits.
Several years have passed now since the last retired leader won it.
In a statement on Thursday, Mogae said he was honoured to accept the role and that he looked forward to working with the other committee members.
“We have been privileged to be guided in our work by Salim Ahmed Salim and Kofi Annan, who exemplified so many of the qualities that the Ibrahim Prize celebrates,” he said.
Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-British businessman who founded the foundation congratulated Mogae, who won the prize in 2008..
Ibrahim said he will have first-hand insight into the challenge of leadership in Africa.
“On behalf of the foundation, I express my deep gratitude to Salim Ahmed Salim for his wise counsel over the last decade, helping the foundation to find three very worthy Ibrahim laureates”.
The Mo Ibrahim Foundation focuses on critical governance and leadership for Africa and annually publishes an index that lists countries in these categories.
The Mo Ibrahim Prize, on the other hand, celebrates excellence in African leadership.
It is awarded to a former Executive head of state or government by an independent Prize Committee composed of eminent figures.
Cape Verdean Pedro Pires won it in in 2011, Namibian Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2014 and Liberian Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2017.
There were no winners in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2018, with the Prize Committee indicating no retired leader had merited.