02/19/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated Dec 01, 2014

What Africa Needs Above All: The Rule of Law

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Mo Ibrahim, the African telecoms entrepreneur who built the mobile phone company Celtel, is president and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. In 2007, he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which awards a $5 million initial payment (over 10 years) and a $200,000 annual payment for life to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents and democratically transfer power to their successors.

"If we are to build grassroots respect for the institutions and processes that constitute democracy," Mo Ibrahim writes for Project Syndicate, "the state must treat its citizens as real citizens, rather than as subjects. We cannot expect loyalty to an unjust regime. The state and its elites must be subject, in theory and in practice, to the same laws that its poorest citizens are."

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