Not necessarily film related, but still worth knowing; and I did make a connection to cinema at the end of the post.
Also it speaks to reasons why many African countries lack a self-sustaining film industry; very few actually have film commissions, when governments don’t see local film production as a priority.
And it is government involvement that could lead to increased funding for both films and infrastructure developments like location studios.
So it’s all connected to governance, and this is an award that rewards good governance.
You may have heard of him… or maybe not.
He’s a Sudanese-born billionaire (it’s rare that we hear about black billionaires who don’t live in the USA, and who aren’t Oprah Winfrey or Robert Johnson) with a cause that some have described as far from glamorous. Keeping a relatively low profile, he’s at the forefront of two revolutions in Africa: first he transformed the continent’s mobile phone service; and now he’s on a mission to promote democracy and reshape Africa’s landscape once again.
In 2007, he created and financed the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership which is awarded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to African heads of state who “deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents, and who democratically transfer power to their successor.“
With a $5 million initial payment, plus $200,000 a year for life to each annual recipient, the prize is believed to be the world’s largest, exceeding even the $1.3m Nobel Peace Prize!
And for the 3rd time in 6 years, none of all the eligible candidates in 2012 met the prize committee’s criteria. And therefore, as has happened twice already in the last few years, the award wasn’t handed out this year either.
Some will argue that, at least, Ibrahim and his selection committee have “standards,” and they don’t feel compelled to hand out the award, just because it’s another year, and someone has to win it. No awards for just showing up, or mediocrity here. The winning candidate must be exceptional in their governance.
Thinking about this, it reminded me of all the debates we’ve had about certain black cinema awards that many of you constantly mock, because you feel that they award mediocrity; and I wondered what would happen if we actually saw a year in which one of these black cinema awards decides not to hand out an award in a category unless there are enough “strong” or “deserving” candidates to nominate.
Watch Al Jazeera’s report below: