Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Friday accepted the prestigious $5 million Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
“As the first woman to receive this Mo Ibrahim Foundation Prize award, it is my hope that women and girls across the continent are inspired to break down barriers,” said the 79-year-old who left office earlier this year. “Where there is a first, there will be a second.”
The world’s richest individual prize is given to a democratically-elected African leader who has demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated terms and left office within the previous three years.
The award comes with $5 million (4.1 million euros), which is paid over 10 years, and $200,000 annually for life from then on.
“I stand before you today an imperfect leader, from a complex, post-conflict society, on a continent of uneven progress, during a time of global uncertainty,” she told an audience of African and foreign officials in the Rwandan capital Kigali.
Sirleaf is no stranger to international acclaim having shared the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize as a champion for women’s rights.
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