Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-born British billionaire philanthropist, made his fame and fortune by bringing mobile phone service to tens of millions of Africans across the continent. Now, he is known for the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which awards the world's largest prize for good governance and leadership to departing African leaders. 

Celtel International was founded in 1998 and went on to be a trailblazer in establishing communications on the African continent. The company is famous for never having paid a bribe, a story Ibrahim is fond of telling. Since he sold Celtel in 2005 for $3.4 billion, he has been focused on his foundation's work and its annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance, an index that measures political, social, and economic factors in all 54 countries. It is an ambitious tool, meant to increase accountability and provide Africans with information to ask questions of their leaders and governments.

The foundation's prize was created as an incentive for African leaders to shun corruption, step down at the mandated time and to provide departing African leaders with a livelihood after their tenure. The prize is not without some controversy, as some critics say it's akin to bribing or rewarding a leader just for doing their job. The foundation awards $5 million over 10 years when the selected leader steps down, and $200,000 thereafter for life. Since it began in 2006, only five individuals have been given the prize. The prize has not been awarded for the last three years, highlighting the political challenges faced by some African countries. 

The Stream meets with Ibrahim to discuss African governance, his foundation's work and the driving forces in Africa right now.  

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Mo Ibrahim @Mo_IbrahimFdn 
Founder, Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Read more:

The man giving Africa a brighter future - The Guardian 
The African award that seems to pride itself on not finding a winner strikes out again - Quartz

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