Mo Ibrahim

When I was young, there was only one TV channel, sponsored by the government, and it only broadcast things like what the leader had for breakfast. There was no real media.

When Captain Moussa Dadis Camara came to power, too many thought he would hold to his promise to stand down, introduce democratic elections and restore the rule of law.

What we need in Africa is balanced development. Economic success cannot be a replacement for human rights or participation or democracy... it doesn't work.

What is a government supposed to do for its people? To improve the standard of living, to help them get jobs, get kids to schools, and have access to medicine and hospitals. Government may not directly provide these public goods and services, but government must be accountable for whether or not they are delivered to citizens.

The Zimbabwean people, like everyone else, have a right to live in freedom and prosperity and to select their leaders through fair and democratic elections.

The Nobel Prize is worth $1.5 million, but that's not the issue. Do the distinguished scientists who win the Nobel Prize need the money? Probably not. The honor is more important the money, and that's the case with the prize for African leadership as well.

Sudan has been an experiment that resonated across Africa: if we, the largest country on the continent, reaching from the Sahara to the Congo, bridging religions, cultures and a multitude of ethnicities, were able to construct a prosperous and peaceful state from our diverse citizenry, so too could the rest of Africa.

Remarkably, governments are beginning to embrace the idea that nothing enhances democracy more than giving voice and information to everybody in the country. Why not open their books if they have nothing to hide?

Of course, Nelson Mandela, everybody knows Nelson Mandela. I mean, he's a great gift not only for Africa but for the whole world, actually. But do not expect everybody to be a Nelson Mandela.

Increasing extremism - across Africa and the world - must be understood in the context of the failure of our leaders properly to manage diversity within their borders.

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