Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the ceremony marking the awarding of the Mo Ibrahim Prize to Mahmadou Issoufou, former President of Niger, today:
I thank Mo Ibrahim for inviting me to say a few words on this auspicious occasion and send my warmest greetings to the Ibrahim Governance Weekend. My sincere congratulations to His Excellency President Mahamadou Issoufou on receiving the 2021 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership.
The awarding of this prestigious prize to President Issoufou is a testament to his efforts as a champion of sustainable development, democratic consolidation, peace, stability, human rights and gender equality.
President Issoufou’s tenure coincided with a period of serious national and regional challenges, from drought and desertification to rising inequality and violent extremism. Despite this, his leadership succeeded in improving the lives of all Niger’s citizens, creating opportunities and hope.
President Issoufou supported and enabled a more conducive environment for sustainable, inclusive development, while remaining fully engaged in broader efforts to address the security and humanitarian challenges facing the entire Sahel region.
Niger’s growing role in the international community, as a valued partner of the United Nations, was built on President Issoufou’s commitment to regional and international cooperation and consensus-building.
His commitment to democracy and peace was confirmed by the first-ever democratic transfer of power in Niger, at the end of his tenure.
This is an important legacy and example that will be remembered and valued by Nigeriens for generations to come.
I salute President Issoufou and look forward to his further contributions to peace, democracy, human rights and sustainable development, on the African continent and the global stage, as an Ibrahim Prize laureate.