No prize for leadership in Africa

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced on 16 June that there was no winner of the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for 2015.

What does this have to do with sexual and reproductive health rights?

The Ibrahim Prize was established in 2006 to recognise and celebrate African leaders “who, under challenging circumstances, have developed their countries and strengthened democracy and human rights for the shared benefit of their people, paving the way for sustainable and equitable prosperity”. The prize, of USD 5 million with a possible further USD 200 000 annual award for philanthropic activities, also highlights “exceptional role models”.

All of these qualities are essential for the realisation of human rights and especially for the realisation of SRHR, which continue to be contested and neglected despite global commitments. The implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – will depend on visionary leadership and genuine commitment to improve the lives of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised people.

Civil society has a critical role to play in ensuring that elected leaders deliver on the commitments they have made. If local, regional and international NGOs and their supporters engage in concerted, evidence-based advocacy on the SDGs, there is more chance of holding governments to account. Transparency and accountability are pillars that uphold human rights. They support meaningful participation, adequate budget provision and honest evaluation of progress and impact.

The 2016 Africa Integrity Indicators, released in May 2016, show there is much to be done to secure transparency and accountability in governance in Africa. Angola, Mozambique and Madagascar rank ‘weak’, while the rest of the region ranks ‘somewhat weak’, except for Kenya and South Africa who score ‘moderate’.

In the same week that the Ibrahim Prize was not awarded, a briefing called Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was published.

The briefing, produced by FEMNET, with support from Hivos Southern Africa and the Ford Foundation, aims to support key players in Africa to work with the the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development framework, by relating the SDGs directly to the SRHR and HIV challenges facing the continent, and the regional context.

The briefing focuses on the goals and targets linked to SRHR including goals number 3, 5, and 10, and asks:
• Why are the SDGs relevant for SRHR?
• What is needed to ensure that SDGs linked to SRHR and HIV/AIDS are achieved?
• Which other national and regional commitments are linked to targets in the 2030 Agenda?
• What is needed to translate the 2030 Agenda into a reality for all people?

Read the FEMNET Briefing on SRHR and the SDGs and share feedback with FEMNET on email

You can read more about the Ibrahim Prize here. The candidates for the prize are all former African executive Heads of State or Government who were democratically elected and served their mandated term. The prize has only been awarded four times. The most recent recipient was President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia (2014); President Pedro Pires, of Cabo Verde, won in 2011; President Festus Mogae of Botswana in 2008 and President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in 2007. Former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa was the inaugural Honorary Laureate in 2007. The Prize Committee chaired by Dr Salim Ahmed Salim, is now considering candidates for 2016.