Quelimane, a town in Mozambique, had fallen to ruin with the cathedral abandoned and used by street kids, the supermarket closed and the cinema flooded due to the town’s proximity to a river mouth. After Manuel de Araújo was appointed Mayor in December 2011, things began to change. Mayor De Araújo has motivated the people to get involved in fixing up the town for themselves, and the changes have encouraged them to start paying taxes. Together, they have cleaned up trenches where mosquitoes usually breed, thereby reducing cases of malaria; reopened the fish market; repaired the local swimming pool; and fixed roads. The judges believe the city of Quelimane under the governance of Mr de Araújo “creates employment, deals with environmental challenges and encourages giving by getting citizens to make the business of development their business.”
The former prime minister of Lesotho, despite his party having won more parliamentary seats than others, accepted the opposition party coalition taking over the government of Lesotho because he believed that peace and stability in the country is more important than him being the prime minister or who gets jobs as ministers. As prime minister, he worked tirelessly to stabilize Lesotho and build a culture of political inclusion.
Dr Theo Ben Gurirab was the Prime Minister of Namibia from 2002 to 2005. He was also Namibia’s foreign minister and is now the Speaker of Namibia’s parliament. He changed history for the people of Namibia through protracted negotiations that led to the country’s independence.
With over 35 years in the field of diplomacy and international affairs, Dr Gurirab presided over the adoption of the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 that was the basis for setting the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDG framework has, for the past ten years, been the single most comprehensive, inclusive, and globally embraced poverty-focused development agenda.
Dr Gurirab also chaired the United Nations reform process. In changing world where the governance of international organisations and development strategies need constant review, Dr Theo Ben Gurirab has been a driver of change, the judges said.
Sindiso Ngwenya, Sindiso Ngwenya is the Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). He has been instrumental in bringing together the region’s 3 economic blocs: COMESA, the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), into a tri-partite association. This is resulting in the 3 communities rapidly working towards trading as a single market of about 600 million people, leading to more political stability and prosperity.
He moved COMESA from being dormant to the implementation of a customs union. COMESA has 19 countries with a combined population of 430 million citizens. It offers its members and partners a wider, harmonised and more competitive market. He also promoted the development of many supporting institutions around COMESA. Civil society, business and the public have access to the COMESA secretariat and the Secretary General – an openness which has contributed significantly to its and his success.
Sindiso Ngwenya is a driver of change for African economic development. “His dedication to poverty eradication and equitable development in Africa through enabling access to broader markets by businesses in the region is commendable” said the Judges. Through his leadership, a future is being crafted out for Africa that looks promising.
Dr Bingu wa Mutharika, President of Malawi, recognized for changing Malawi from a country in perpetual food deficit to one that is entirely food sufficient. The boom in this sector has had a direct impact on millions of poor people. Under his leadership, poverty in Malawi has declined from 58 to 42 percent in five years. Through his direct involvement in turning Malawi’s future around, he is building new confidence and hope amongst the citizens of Africa in their governments.
The Ministry of Planning and Development (MPD) of the Government of Mozambique, is a shining example of promoting high participation of civil society organisations in the public policies aimed at overcoming poverty.
Listening to the voice of civil society organisations, the MPD developed the Plan of Action for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA II) which is the main public policy instrument incorporating more that 70% of their contributions. Setting a platform for open policy debate, the MPD established the Poverty Observatory Secretariat, a consultative forum whose main role is to monitor the objectives and goals undertaken by public and private bodies within the ambit of PARPA. The Poverty Observatory, has a membership of 60, consisting of 20 members each from government, international community and civil society constituting what is known as the Group of 20 (G20).
A sound relationship exists between the secretariats of the Poverty Observatory and the G20. In this regard, public policies and strategies in overcoming poverty are sent to the G20 secretariat that in turn circulates the information to over 200 civil society organisations in the country. An Annual Report on Poverty is prepared with the involvement of all stakeholders. In addition, civil society organisations through the G20, participate in the process of Joint Revision, periodically evaluating the government performance and donors.
The Panel of Judges noted that governments alone cannot eradicate poverty and their efforts should be complemented by all key stakeholders in society. To this end, they unanimously agreed to confer a JOINT SPECIAL AWARD to theMinistry of Planning and Development of Mozambique and the G20 citing their outstanding and creative partnership as a model for other government/civil society partnerships.