Thursday, October 26, 2006

London: African Leadership Achievement Prize for Good Governance Announced


Sudanese-born entrepreneur Dr. Mohammed (Mo) Ibrahim, founder and Chairman of African mobile telecoms leader CelTel (a subsidiary of MTC Group), has announced a groundbreaking annual leadership achievement prize for good governance in Africa. Just when I was sinking into a hopeless well of depression over the disintegrating humanitarian situation in the Sudan’s western province of Darfur, Dr. Mo comes through with the big news of the day to lift our spirits about Africa. This news helps to inspire me at just the right moment since over the past several days I have been doing a great deal of online research in preparation for my next posts on the history of the Sudan and a piece about some of Khartoum’s budding entrepreneurs. Dr. Mo Ibrahim describes himself as a Nubian, a people with a long and rich history.

At the launch of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation today in London, Dr. Mo announced the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, a USD$ 5 million prize to be awarded annually to one of Africa’s best and most deserving leaders. has the best MSM news coverage on this exciting initiative along with an exclusive interview about the prize with Dr. Mo Ibrahim. BBC World News has today broadcast a short video about the award and published a story to their website. The rest of the global mainstream media is well…asleep at the wheel. Jewels in the Jungle is of course one of the first to bring this story to the blogosphere, where the best news and most informed readers really matter.

Hats off to the people of Sudan for bringing the world Dr. Mo Ibrahim. Finally, finally you have something to cheer about and a(nother) reason to be very, very proud.

I already know whom I would nominate for the Prize for Achievement in African Leadership for 2007 but unfortunately she was just elected to office last year. I certainly know whom I would not nominate for this year’s award, especially the guy sitting at position Nr.1 on this list of world leaders (World’s 10 Worst Dictators for 2006).

Excerpts from the latest news about the award can be found below with links to, BBC News, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and other related articles.
NEWS October 26, 2006
Posted to the web October 26, 2006
By Margaret McElligott
Washington, DC

After a professional career spent proving that investing in Africa can be profitable, telecommunications entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim has embarked on a new task: to improve the quality of African leadership. To that end, the
Mo Ibrahim Foundation announced today a $5 million annual prize for African leaders who were elected fairly, improved their country's standard of living, and handed over power peacefully to the next elected government.

Recipients of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership will get $500,000 a year in their first 10 years out of office, and $200,000 a year for the rest of their lives. The prize will be the world's most generous award, according to the foundation.

"The message is that we, Africans, it is time for us to take charge of our issues," Ibrahim said. "It is our responsibility to look after our continent, to look after our kids."

Ibrahim told AllAfrica that he hopes the award will spark a debate on the role of governance in Africa, and provide the means for former leaders to stay engaged in the national life of their countries.

"You don't need the power of the office to do things," Ibrahim said. "Civil society is so rich. We need to get engaged there."

More than anything, he said, the prize will be a reward to leaders who deliver to their people. He hopes to make the first award by the end of 2007.

"It's important that the citizens of Africa take the leaders to account," he said.

The prize's selection committee will choose winners with the help of a governance index that is being developed by Dr. Robert Rotberg at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. The foundation will spend about $500,000 a year to develop and update the index. Rotberg has previously written on governance indices and has been developing new measurement methods with students for years.

Rotberg told AllAfrica that most existing measures rely on interviews and other forms of documentation for comparison, but that he will use only quantifiable, objective measures. For example, in measuring changes to the national infrastructure, the index may count the miles of paved road in a country. To measure political freedom, team members may identify the number of journalists or opposition leaders held in prison.

(Read more at - Record Breaking Governance Prize Launched)

Related articles and additional online resources

BBC News – 10/26/06
Prize offered to Africa's leaders A $5m prize for Africa's most effective head of state is being launched by one of the continent's top businessmen.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation official website – see Flash video with Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, et Al.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation African Leadership Prize press relese – 10/26/06

Exclusive interview with Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim about the Leadership Prize

Harvard University – John F. Kennedy School of Government
Center for Public LeadershipCPL Newsletter
Belfer Center (JFK School of Government) - Dr. Robert Rotberg profile

AME Info – 09/13/06
MTC Wins 4 Prestigious Industry Awards - 05/28/03
Dr. Mo - The Cellular Choice (interview by Francois Ploye)

CelTel Corporate website
Interview with Dr. Mo Ibrahim about his career and the telecoms industry in Africa

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Norway: Nobel Peace Prize 2006 awarded to development economist Dr. Muhammed Yunus and Grameen Bank

On a day when much of the world is sitting on the edge of their seats wondering if there is going to be a nuclear confrontation on the Korean peninsula, the Norwegian Nobel Committee reminds us about the kind of world we all should be working hard to build.

Professor Muhammed Yunus, noted economist and champion of the poor for more than 30 years, has been awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Grameen Bank, started by Dr. Yunus in his home village in Bangladesh in 1976, will be sharing the coveted peace prize with the Vanderbilt University educated economist. The Grameen Bank specializes in providing small loans and financial services to the rural poor of the world, with programs ranging from Asia to the Middle East and Africa, and in Latin America and the Carribean. There are more than a dozen organizations and companies that come under the umbrella of the Grameen family of enterprises offering a variety of services and products. The Grameen Foundation alone serves over 2.2 million people worldwide with their micro-finance programs. A well-known and successful Grameen Foundation technology program is the Village Phone Project. You can learn about how the Village Phone projects work in sub-Saharan Africa by visiting George Conrad’s blog On Safari with El Jorgito and reading his archives from Uganda and Rwanda for 2005/2006.

Dr. Muhammed Yunus is a featured participant in the Principal Voices Project and a good buddy of world economist Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. CNN has some great video reports about Professor Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank and more information can be found at the websites and blogs listed below:

Washington Post - 10/13/06
Bangladesh Economist, Grameen Bank Win Nobel Peace Prize

CNN International
Bankers for poor win peace Nobel – 10/13/06
(Note: see related articles and video clips in this CNN article)

PBS The New Heroes (2005)
Muhammed Yunus and the Grameen Bank

Knowledge @ Wharton
(Wharton Business School, Univ. of Pennsylvania)
Muhammed Yunus, Banker to the World’s Poorest Citizens
(Note: PBS Nightly Business Report interview March 09, 2005)

Businessweek Online
Muhammed Yunus: Microfinance Missionary – 12/26/05 – Microfinance archives
Muhammed Yunis wins Nobel Peace Prize – 10/13/06

Poverty and Growth

World Bank Institute’s Poverty and Growth Program blog
Advances in Development Economics archives

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

U.S.A.: Students STAND UP for DarfurFast Day

I was telling my fellow blog author buddy Jörg Wolf of the Atlantic Review that I intend to increase my focus on the Darfur crisis & Sudan here at Jewels in the Jungle this month. Jörg has been making a great effort over at his blog to share his own views on Darfur as a European (German) and to stimulate a transatlantic dialogue over the crisis amongst his many readers.

There are more than 32,000 blog posts about Darfur in this Technorati search result (tags) and more than 20,000 posts about Darfur in this Blogpulse search result, many of them coming from international blog authors too numerous to mention here. I want to thank all the new global visitors who have left comments to my Darfur posts and I apologize for not being able to spend more time at your blogs lately to read some of your very fine posts. I recommend that my readers check the comments to my most recent Darfur posts and click through to these international blog authors who have graced this site.

One new global blogger that has caught my attention lately is Drima, a Sudanese student studying at university in Malaysia and author of the Sudanese Thinker. In Drima’s own words he is…”Born where the White & Blue Nile meet aka Khartoum, Sudan. Currently a full-time student and a part-time multi genre music producer, aspiring entrepreneur and blogtivist in the tiny multi cultural island nation of Poopa Majoma...”. Drima’s blog is quite good with lots of links to news and opinions about the crisis in Darfur and Sudan in general as well as general news about the Middle East and global issues. In a recent post titled Ex-US Officials Urge Military Action Over Darfur I made mention of the STAND DarfurFast campaign that is taking place in the U.S.A. on October 5th.

Unfortunately, Drima felt that I was “rubbing it in his face” re: the reaction of high school and university students and the general public in the United States to the Darfur Crisis vs. Malaysia and the rest of the world, but that wasn’t my point. Jörg and I have been having an intense (private) dialogue about the same thing re: European university students and the lack of media coverage and public outrage here in Europe. “Where is the rest of the world on Darfur?”
So, this was meant to be a brief Heads Up post on the DarfurFast campaign that is taking place on university campuses and in high school auditoriums across America today, and I will keep it brief.

Another Heads Up event this week that focuses on Sudan, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is the CNN special report on Anderson Cooper 360°. The CNN documentary news production is titled The Killing Fields: Africa’s Misery, The World’s Shame. With some luck I hope to have more information published tomorrow about this series from the award-winning production team at Anderson Cooper 360°. CNN correspondents Jeff Koinange, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and Anderson Cooper are spread out from the DRC to the Horn of Africa and are maintaining a blog with video clips for online visitors and viewers. Here is a link to Jeff Koinange’s post about a ride with the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS) forces on their way to rescue stranded refugees in North Darfur: Outgunned soldiers avoid confronting the enemy – Oct 03, 2006.

The Anderson Cooper 360° special will be airing in Europe again on Friday at 0400 CET, other regions of the world should check your local CNNI program schedule. CNN Insight has a related feature report tonight airing at 2000 CET and titled Living in Africa’s Refugee Camps, hosted by Jonathan Mann. All I have to say about that prime time program airing schedule of 4:00 AM in the morning is “Thank GOD for the Internet!”.

Below is an excerpt from an October 4th article at the Christian Science Monitor online that highlights the work of the organization STAND:

Student activists rise again - this time for Darfur
By Matthew Clark Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

She sleeps less, goes out less, and has reduced her course load to work 30 to 40 hours a week organizing student campaigns. Her goal: to end the suffering in Darfur, Sudan, perhaps the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"If people are still dying, I need to keep working," says Bailey Cato, a University of Oklahoma senior and a regional coordinator for a student antigenocide coalition called STAND. And tomorrow she'll be fasting - along with Don Cheadle, Hollywood star of "Hotel Rwanda," and other celebrities and politicians in a show of solidarity with the people of Darfur.

Student fasts are nothing new, of course. But the Darfur crisis has caught on with American activists in a way not seen since the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s and early '90s. And the big surprise is: They're achieving results.

In the past month alone:

• The US appointed a special envoy to Darfur, bowing to pressure after an international day of protests - including a rally of some 30,000 in New York's Central Park.

• California passed legislation to stop investing in companies supporting the Sudan regime - the fifth state to do so. More than two dozen colleges and universities are also in the process of divesting.

"The grass-roots people have really kept the issue alive and forced the hand of the governments," says Alex de Waal, a fellow of the Global Equity Initiative at Harvard University, who has been advising the African Union on Darfur. He says the UN Security Council's decision in March 2005 to refer Darfur war crimes cases to the International Criminal Court and the US move two years ago to label the conflict "genocide" would not have happened without advocates' pressure.

That pressure is building. Yesterday, student musicians from Berklee School of Music in Boston released a CD dedicated to the women of Darfur. Proceeds will benefit aid programs there run by Mercy Corps, an international humanitarian group. Last week, a coalition of Cincinnati-area religious, civic, and student groups held "Five Days for Darfur," a series of awareness-raising events.

The CSM article goes on to say:
Activists' priority: UN peacekeepers

As the situation has worsened, activists have pushed for change. Most advocates want UN peacekeepers sent to Darfur.

"I think [grass-roots efforts] have made [Darfur] almost a top-tier issue for the Bush administration," says John Prendergast, a senior adviser of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. "There's no question [President] Bush feels political pressure to respond."

Mr. Bush said Monday the UN should send peacekeepers without delay.

One reason the Darfur movement has succeeded - where many similar international efforts have failed - is the US move to label the crisis genocide. "The comparison of Darfur to [the 1994 genocide in] Rwanda is what has been most potent here," says Eric Reeves, a Darfur analyst and Smith College professor.

While appearances by celebrities like George Clooney have been crucial, grass-roots efforts have made the difference - especially those of young people, he adds. "A lot of students now really only know Rwanda as historical event, and there is a resolve that this will not happen on their watch.... You have to go back to apartheid-era South Africa to find [a movement] this powerful for an issue that doesn't involve US blood or treasure.

"STAND, the student antigenocide group, is an example. Since April, it has grown from seven to 55 chapters. When Ms. Cato brought Paul Rusesabagina, the Rwandan whose story inspired the movie "Hotel Rwanda," to her campus last Wednesday, he packed the 750-seat auditorium with an overflow audience of at least 1,200 people. "We're young, idealistic, and we're horrified that genocide can go on in this world," Cato explains. (read more at CSM online)

Additional online resources

Time to Protect homepage (see regional blogs, videos, and other resources)

STAND: Students Taking Action Now- Darfur (a student anti-genocide coalition)