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Archbishop Desmond Tutu awarded with special Mo Ibrahim Foundation prize

posted 12 Nov 2012, 07:16 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 12 Nov 2012, 07:17 ]

South Africa's Desmond Tutu is honored with a special prize from the Mo Ibrahim foundation, for his contributions to justice and human rights. In the last three years, the annual prize has not been given awarded, because no-one has been deemed worthy enough winner.

 DAKARSENEGAL (NOVEMBER 10, 2012) (RMEDIA/WORLD WIDE PICTURES) - Veteran South African peace campaigner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu accepted a special prize, along with a grant of one million US dollars from the Mo Ibrahim foundation, for his lifelong contributions to justice and human rights, at the Foundation's annual governance ceremony in DakarSenegal on Sunday (November 11).

The Foundation's fourth annual policy forum brought together eminent global figures, youth groups, members of African civil society, the private sector, governments, and multilateral and regional institutions.

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation also offers an annual five million US dollars prize to a former African head of state for good governance.

However, this year, although there were a number of candidates in the running, none met the criteria needed to win the prize, organisers said.

The prize, established by Sudanese telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim to improve governance on the continent, was previously awarded to former Cape Verde president, Pedro Verona Pires, Mozambique's Joaquim Chissano and Botswana's Festus Mogae.

Addressing delegates at the ceremony, foundation Chair and Founder, Mo Ibrahim said that civil societyis becoming stronger across the continent, however, corrupt practices and a lack of transparency are still hindering growth in many parts of Africa.

"The truth is that African civil society is rising and changing, changing everything around us; new forces coming, young people at the heart of these new changes. Things are not business as usual. It is so ridiculous for us Africans for us to rely on the European and US governments to impose transparency, while here in Africa, we fail to impose that in our own governance. We have a job to do," he said.

Senegal's prime minister, Abdoul Mbaye called for an urgent shift in priorities in Africa towards youth, emphasising that dealing with the population boom will define the continent for the 21st century.

"When we listen to the youth, we realise that we need to mobilise and try to focus on their concerns. Not only for economic and social reasons, but also for peace, stability and security of our countries. Let's no forget that it's often social exclusion and failure that turn youth into easy prey for delinquency and extremism," he said.

Presenting the special award to Tutu, Ibrahim saluted the Archbishop tireless work in promoting peace and championing the oppressed.

"The board really recognised and was delighted to recognise the lifelong work of a wonderful civil society fighter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and awarded him a prize for this year," he said.

Accepting the award, the South African cleric, who remains outspoken on his country's and international affairs urged young people to avoid cynicism and continue to dream of a better kind of world.

"What is that matter with us? When are we going to learn that we are family, we are family, and that we will not advance, if we forget that we were made for interdependence," he said.

The ceremony came to a close on Sunday (November 11) with a series of performances by some ofAfrica and the Diaspora's best musical talents, including Senegalese musician Baaba Maal, and rapper Nix.