As the Founder and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr. Mo Ibrahim is a champion of good governance and leadership across the African continent. The Foundation’s annual Ibrahim Index of African Governance provides clear governance measures for African countries, with its latest release indicating improvement in overall average governance has slowed down. The Foundation also recognises examples of strong leadership across Africa most recently awarding former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, its annual Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The Foundation will recognise President Sirleaf at its annual Governance Weekend, held in Kigali, Rwanda in April. “While overall progress has slowed down, we’re still seeing some countries step up,” Dr. Ibrahim said, “We need to quicken our pace and this year’s Governance Weekend will inspire stronger leadership across the continent.”
Dr. Ibrahim also serves as the co-chair of The B Team’s Governance and Transparency initiative, advancing work around ending anonymous companies, promoting open contracting, protecting civic rights and developing responsible corporate tax practice. Dr. Ibrahim was key in helping shape The B Team’s Responsible Tax Principles. “To build a fairer, more sustainable future, we must learn from the lessons of the past,” he said, “Clear, responsible tax policies are the place to start, and companies are the ones to lead.”
What inspires you?
I am inspired by human solidarity in all forms.
Which B Team challenge or initiative are you motivated by most, and how is your company/organization helping to lead on the issue?
The initiative to improve governance and transparency. For the past 11 years, I’ve been focused on improving governance and leadership in Africa through my Foundation.
What convinced you to take on this challenge? Why do you believe that it cannot be achieved without business engagement and leadership?
The fight against corruption has always been handicapped by the lack of transparency on the beneficial ownership of secretive companies, which are the obvious vehicles to channel corrupt money. Better governance in the public sector will help build better governance in the private sector.
What are the biggest lessons you’ve learned on this journey?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that business is essentially a force for good. The private sector cannot afford to let practices of the few tarnish its overall image.
What is the first thing you read every morning?
I read the Financial Times first thing every morning.
What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur seeking to start a new company today?
Young entrepreneurs should develop clear focus when seeking to start a new company today.
If there is one big change you could make in the world today, what would it be?
I would focus on reforming the UN and Security Council.
If you were given an extra day next week, how would you spend it?
On the golf course.
What one thing would you change to help more companies go further, faster, towards sustainable business?
I would change regulatory incentives to help companies go further, faster, and with more support, towards sustainable business.
This interview is part of a series to help you get to know the B Team leaders, what they are working on and what they are passionate about. You can read Richard Branson’s interview here, Yolanda Kakabadse’s interview here, Sharan Burrow’s interview here, Bob Collymore’s interview here, David Crane’s here, Christiana Figueres’ here, Arif Naqvi’s here, Arianna Huffington’s here, Guilherme Leal’s here, Mats Granryd’s here, Oliver Bäte’s here and expect a new one each month.