Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire, Mo Ibrahim, has congratulated Gambians for the successful conclusion of a difficult electoral process.

He also saluted the peaceful manner in which a potentially explosive situation has been resolved.

The founder of Mo Ibrahim Foundation which awards African leaders who have excelled in leadership and governance said, "we commend the efforts of ECOWAS which illustrate the value of meaningful regional integration in our continent. ECOWAS has already seen successful and peaceful transitions of power in Senegal, Nigeria, Benin, Cabo Verde and Ghana."

Gambia's longtime leader, Yahya Jammeh, has left the country after stepping down as president following tense negotiations amid the prospect of West African military intervention.

In a televised address last Saturday morning, Jammeh said it was his duty to "preserve at every instant" the lives of Gambians.

"I have decided today in good conscience to relinquish the mantle of leadership of this great nation with infinite gratitude to all Gambians," he said.

The longtime leader was facing a showdown with troops from neighboring Senegal who entered the small West African country less than 24 hours earlier to enforce the results of last month's presidential election.

The UN Security Council had backed an effort by regional states to remove Jammeh as president.

Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation expressed hope that this is the beginning of a new era in The Gambia that will promote increased socio-economic development based on respect for human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law. 

He hopes that in this regard, The Gambia will find the space to put in place an authentic process for its people to reconcile themselves within a framework of national unity.

"However, this demarche should not in any way condone impunity for the violations, atrocities and abuses that are related to the 22 years of authoritarian rule.

"Our best wishes to the newly inaugurated President of The Gambia, Adama Barrow, and to the people of The Gambia," he added.