The former president of Cape Verde, Pedro Pires, on Monday won a lucrative prize for excellence in African leadership awarded by the business tycoon Mo Ibrahim's foundation. Pires, who led the former Portuguese colony off Africa's northwest coast for a decade until August, is the first winner of the award since 2008 because no suitable candidate could be found for the past two years. Cape Verde has been praised for its stable democracy and peaceful elections and in 2008 became only the second country after Botswana to be promoted by the United Nations out of the ranks of the 50 least developed countries. Salim Ahmed Salim, the Chair of the Prize Committee, told an audience in London: "President Pires's democratic credentials were further enhanced when he announced he was stepping down at the end of his second term. "Dismissing outright suggestions that the constitution could be altered to allow him to stand again, he said: 'This is a simple matter of faithfulness to the documents that guide a state of law'. "Throughout his long career, president Pires has been dedicated to the service of his people, including those in the diaspora, while retaining his humility and personal integrity." The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership carries a $5.0 million (3.7 million euro) prize paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The last winner of the prize launched in 2006 by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, was Festus Mogae, the former president of Botswana, in 2008.