Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has become the first woman to be awarded a $5m (£3.6m) prize for African leadership.
The 79-year-old, who stepped down as president of Liberia in January to hand the reigns over to former footballer George Weah, is only the fifth person to receive the Ibrahim Prize since it was established by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2006.
Ms Sirleaf, who was the 24th Liberian president and the continent’s first democratically elected female head of state, was praised by the prize committee for her “exceptional and transformative leadership, in the face of unprecedented and renewed challenges”.
The panel praised her efforts in guiding Liberia through its recovery from years of civil war, as well as a deadly Ebola outbreak in 2014 and 2015, which killed 5,000 people.
“In very difficult circumstances, she helped guide her nation toward a peaceful and democratic future, paving the way for her successor to follow,” said Mo Ibrahim.
“I am proud to see the first woman Ibrahim laureate, and I hope Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will continue to inspire women in Africa and beyond.”
She will then receive $200,000 (£144,480) annually for the rest of her life, and another $200,000 (£144,480) may also be put towards public interest activities supported by her.