No new candidates

"The standards set for the prize winner are high, and the number of potential candidates each year is small. So it is likely that there will be years when no prize is awarded," Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecommunications billionaire, said in a statement.

"In the current year, no new candidates emerged," he said, adding that while many African nations are advancing economically and with regards to governance, more needs to be done.

Ibrahim created the award, the largest individual prize in the world, in 2007 to encourage good governance on a continent known for high levels of corruption and poor democratic standards.

The award can only be given to former democratically elected heads of state who left office within the last three years.

The $5m award is given over 10 years with a potential subsequent $200,000 annually for life for good causes.

Festus Mogae, the former Botswana president, and Joaquim Chissano, of Mozambique, have previously won the award.