By Kembet Bolton

July 17, 2021, was a memorable day for African Leadership Magazine Group as it successfully hosted jointly the 5th edition of its annual Invest in Africa Summit and the 11th edition of the Africa Business Leadership Awards (ABLA). The Invest in Africa Summit aims at bringing together Policymakers, private sector leaders, civil society leaders, and all stakeholders in Europe, the US, and Africa to discuss issues, proffer solutions, and generally lend their voices as contributions to shaping a new future for our common good.

The African Business Leadership Awards (ABLA) is a prestigious recognition event that rewards exceptional corporate practices and outstanding achievers in Africa’s business landscape and its private sector. The awards presentation ceremonies are in keeping with our tradition of presenting the positive sides of the continent’s businesses and leaders, which hardly find placement on global media platforms – celebrating exemplary business leadership. The 11th edition was held as a key highlight of the 5th Invest in Africa Summit.

The event had a theme, Africa 4.0: Redefining Growth, Innovation, and Sustainability, and had some of the continent’s strongest game-changers from Government, Business, Academia, and Civil Society, attending virtually.

The event started with a welcome remark by the Chairman and Publisher of the African Leadership Magazine Group, Dr. Ken Giami. In his speech, Dr. Giami expressed great optimism in the private sector as a vital engine of growth for the diverse Africa economy. He emphasized the critical role of business collaborations and partnerships in driving economic transformations.

Her Excellency Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, served as the keynote speaker for the event. In her keynote address, which had as theme, Pathways to Economic Growth in Africa, Mrs. Taylor urged all participants to join hands in creating not just the Africa we want, but the Africa we deserve. Mrs. Taylor made it clear that no one person had all the answers, but collectively our views, opinions, and conversations, will help us work together towards building an Africa of Economic Freedom, sustainable development, and growth. 

Mrs. Taylor stated that according to the Africa Economic Outlook, Africa experienced the worst economic recession in more than a century and it has been projected that Africa needs approximately $154 billion to respond to the economic crisis. Mrs. Taylor explained that though the statistics are alarming, they present an awesome opportunity for innovation, education, collaboration, and new partnerships on the continent.

Mrs. Taylor rounded up by saying we need the political will at all levels to make the right decisions. She also emphasized the need to ensure policies of equity and inclusion, especially for females.

A presentation quickly followed the keynote address by His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria, Babajide Sanwo-Olu who was represented by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso.

Mr. Omotoso in his remarks, listed the achievements of the governor while also intimating participants of the investment opportunities in Lagos State.

Other presentations at the event included that of; Dr. Joyce Aryee, Co-Chair, ALM Advisory Council, Carlos Moore Esq., President, National Bar Association, USA, Gary Whitehill, Chair, Geostrategic holdings, USA, Caroline Abel, Governor Bank of Seychelles, and Noleen Mariappen, Impact Entrepreneur & Consultant, UK.

The event quickly progressed to the Africa Business Leadership Award presentations. One after the other, individuals and institutions who were adjudged winners of different categories were called upon to accept their awards with an acceptance speech.

Award recipients included; Dr. Ernest Addison, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, who accepted the Central Bank of the Year Award on behalf of the bank.

Other awards and recipients are; Mr. Harvesh Kumar Seegolam, Governor, Bank of Mauritius, who received the Central Bank Governor of the Year Award, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development & Monitoring Board (NCDMB), His Excellency Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Business-Friendly Governor of the Year and Her Excellency, Jewel Howard Taylor who also received a special commendation award from the Legislative Black Caucus, Georgia, USA.

Other awardees for the event were; Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, CEO, Airtel Africa, who received the Africa Business Leader of the Year Award, Ms. Patience Akyianu, CEO, Hollard Group Ghana, Africa Female Business Leader of the Year, Rev. Patricia Sappor, Inspirational Female Leadership Award,  Kiira Motors Corporation, Uganda, Africa Company of the Year. Others who received the special commendation award include; Caroline Abel, Governor, Central Bank of Seychelles, Sim Tshabalala, CEO, Standard Bank, South Africa, Capt. Musu Nuhu, DG, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Irungu Macharia, MD, Kenya Pipeline Company, Dr. Lance Mambondiani, CEO, BancABC Zimbabwe, and Dr. Walton E. Gilpin, MD, Rokel Commercial Bank, Sierra Leone.

In his vote of thanks, the Group Managing Editor for African Leadership Magazine, Mr. Kingsley Okeke congratulated the awardees and assured them of the organization’s willingness to work with them in making Africa that great continent we deserve.