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Kufuor Picks $5m Award?

J A Kufuor

J A Kufuor

Even before the euphoria of a World Under-20 triumph subsides, Ghana is on the verge of chalking another international recognition as former President cruises towards lifting the highly coveted $5 million Mo Ibrahim prize.

Barring unforeseen developments in the dying moments before the announcement, expected in the next few hours, the former president, information reaching us and supported by credible permutation, would lift the prize money and the accompanying prestige.

The announcement would be made today in London’s City Hall, with the world’s own Kofi Annan in the chair.  Also in the running for the prize money are former South African President Thabo Mbeki, Tejan Kaba of Sierra Leone and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.

Bookmakers are generally of the opinion that considering the international ranking of the former Ghanaian President against the backdrop of the recent uneventful handover of power to the then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) after a very slim vote difference, he appears to dwarf his competitors.

Since leaving office, former President Kufuor has been bestowed with a number of top-notch international appointments.  He was given an honorary doctorate by a South Korean University which adds to this feather-studded cap.

He is a member of a 12-member high level commission tasked with modernising the operations of the World Bank.  The 12 members of the high level commission have held or are holding senior positions at an international level from both developed and developing countries.

The announcement of the appointments was made by Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Bank Group Managing Director who visited Ghana last week.  Former President Kufuor is also credited with a myriad of mediation roles in many African flashpoints.

Ghana, under his eight-year tenure, witnessed an international respectability for its democratic progress, a recognition which accounted for the improved 7th position among 53 countries in the latest Mo Ibrahim index of African Governance.

The assessment was based on data gathered from either 2007 or 2008, as the previous year’s indices are calculated using the latest data that would have been available that year, according to reports from the foundation’s headquarters.

According to the release from the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, Ghana, which scored 66.0 out of 100 in the 2007/2008 assessment year, was ranked seventh out of 53 countries in the latest rating, but placed second in the West African sub-region.

Still on Ghana, the release disclosed that the country scored above the West African regional average which was 51.7.  At category level, Ghana scored average in all categories, but in the Safety and Rule of Law and Participation and Human Rights section, Ghana’s score was substantially higher than the continental average.

President Barack Obama’s visit, the first to an African country since assuming power, was a testimony to the governance record chalked in the past eight years which the American strongman acknowledged in his policy speech, the highlight of the visit.

President Kufuor’s proximity to the prestigious prize money has not come without political mischief, as a delegation was allegedly dispatched to the foundation headquarters, with a view to scuttling the chances of the former President.

The NDC-sponsored mission, led by a top academia, could not have influenced the highly reputed Prize Committee in their decision.

Chaired by the former United Nations Secretary-General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan, the Prize Committee is made up of Marti Ahtisaari, former Finnish President and UN Special Envoy to Kosovo; Aicha Bah Diallo, former Minister of Education in Guinea and  Director of Basic Education at the United Nations Education, Social and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Others are Mohammed El-Baradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Graca Machel, Chancellor of the University of Cape Town and former Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique; Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Salim Ahmed Salim, former Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity and former Prime Minister of Tanzania.

The Mo Ibrahim Prize, the largest individual annual award in the world, is worth US$5m over ten years and US$200,000 a year for ten years for public interest activities and good causes espoused by the winner.

Persons entitled for consideration for the award are former Executive Heads of State or Government from a sub-Saharan African country who have served their constitutionally mandated term and who have left office in the last three years.

Source: modernghana.com

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