The Mo Ibrahim Foundation says it has awarded the $5 million African Leadership prize to former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

The Ibrahim Prize, which honors role models on a continent where many leaders have stayed in power for decades, has been awarded just four times before since it was established in 2006. Sirleaf is the fifth person and first woman to receive it.

The prize committee on Monday praised Sirleaf's "exceptional and transformative leadership, in the face of unprecedented and renewed challenges" in leading Liberia's recovery following years of civil war.

Sirleaf, who was president from 2006 to 2017, stepped down in January, handing power to President George Weah.

Prize Committee chair Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim said Sirleaf "helped guide her nation towards a peaceful and democratic future."