Sudanese-born "Mo" founded Celtel, a mobile phone company that now serves 23 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Sold it in 2005 for $3.4 billion; pocketed $1.4 billion. London resident now spends his time on philanthropy and investing in Africa. Created Mo Ibrahim Foundation to improve governance of African countries. Most prominent element of the foundation is a lifetime award of $5 million over 10 years, and $200,000 annually thereafter, to an African head of state who has retired within the preceding three years and left his country materially better off and more transparent. Awarding committee decided not to award the prize in 2009 or 2010. The Foundation also publishes a 300-page index of conditions in 53 developing countries, covering 88 variables such as health, press freedom, and infrastructure. Future projects will include information on agricultural development and climate change.
After a long career in academia, six years as Technical Director for Cellnet of BT, and founding a consultancy and software company, Mobile Systems International. In 1998, Dr Ibrahim founded Celtel International to build and operate mobile networks in Africa. Celtel became one of Africa’s most successful companies with operations covering more than a third of the continent’s population and investing more than $750 million in Africa. The company was sold to MTC Kuwait in 2005 for $3.4billion.more » « less