Exploring Pathways to a more Resilient Africa: Insights from the ALM Persons of the Year Awards – Addis Ababa 2024

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 …as Tanzania’s Kikwete, Addis Ababa Mayor Abebe, others win big.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia/ 16 March 2024

An evening of glamour, excitement, and high-level networking unfolded as Africa’s foremost policymakers, business leaders, and diplomatic figures convened at the 12th African Leadership magazine’s Persons of the Year Awards Ceremony on March 15, 2024, at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


The year’s ceremony symbolizes ‘a celebration of hope, as noted by Dr. Ken Giami, Chairman of the African Leadership Organization, and publisher of African Leadership magazine, in his opening remarks. “Our anchor is hope’. Hope that we do not have a scarcity of transformational leaders. It is that hope that we celebrate today, that we have leaders like the ones we are celebrating – who continue to serve our people in ways that inspire – for as they are not mere business or political figures, but architects of our progress, stewards of hope, and catalysts for societal change,” he noted. He also set the tone for the event by emphasizing that the ceremony’s focus was on “building a resilient Africa in a period of global tensions and economic disruptions”.


Welcoming the attendees, the Ethiopian Minister for Revenues, H.E. Aynalem Nigussie, underscored the significance of honouring accomplished individuals as a source of inspiration for the younger generation. “As we honor the most successful persons of the year, we are not only celebrating their individual achievement but also recognizing them as beacons of inspiration,” she stated.


The keynote address by His Excellency, Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of Tanzania, reflected on Africa’s progress while acknowledging ongoing challenges such as poverty, climate change, disease, and political instability.


“Considering the theme of this event, that is Building Resilient African Economies, I recommend that today’s event extends beyond just recognizing achievements by notable Africans but also serves as an opportunity to reflect on responsibilities that come with leadership. Poverty, food crisis, climate change, diseases, illiteracy, political crisis, and conflicts are among the challenges which still continue to confront Africa and demand our unwavering attention and concerted efforts and actions,” he remarked.


Former President Kikwete shared insights into the economic challenges facing Africa, including inflation, unemployment, and migration, underlining the need for visionary leadership and innovation. He stressed the pivotal role of education in harnessing Africa’s youthful population as a transformative force, while also addressing the need for improvements in the health sector to tackle emerging challenges such as non-communicable diseases.


In response to Africa’s economic realities, former President Kikwete emphasized, “Governments in Africa must adapt so that they are able to remain competitive and foster sustainable growth. Our continent, Africa, possesses numerous advantageous factors, including abundant natural resources, a youthful population, and the ingenuity of our people. This is one area where Africa’s potential is limitless. In my view, what is required at this pivotal moment is visionary leadership, innovation, and a revitalized commitment to the principles of unity and solidarity.”


“I talk passionately about this subject because I am not only passionate about education but also because I am also the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). I am also a firm believer that education is the foundation of all economic development activities. Education can lay the foundation for tolerance, inclusivity, and a shared sense of identity,” he emphasized.


“Education can also serve as a powerful tool in preventing the rise of extremism and fostering a culture of peace. It is heart-warming indeed, to note that the African Union (AU) has proclaimed 2024 as the Year of Education. This marks a historic milestone that reinstates education at the forefront of the policy agenda. We maintain optimism that the AU, in collaboration with key development partners, will successfully achieve enhanced outcomes throughout the entire education spectrum.”


Regarding healthcare, former President Kikwete advocated for a holistic approach, stressing the importance of addressing evolving health trends and the specific needs of special groups such as adolescents and the elderly. He called for strengthening health infrastructure, increased investment in research, and improved coordination mechanisms with international health organizations for disease prevention and response.


“I am happy with the AU’s decision to establish the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). So far, the institution has been playing a crucial role in coordinating continental efforts to combat diseases, including pandemics. I appeal to the African Union to ensure its strengthening to be able to deliver on the objectives of its establishment,” he added.


Additionally, former President Kikwete applauded the AU’s commitment to democratic governance and human rights. He highlighted the organization’s role in facilitating transparent and fair elections in member states, contributing to accountable and transparent governance throughout the continent.


Advocating for regional integration, President Kikwete cited examples like the AfCFTA and PIDA, while emphasizing the importance of finding African solutions to African problems while welcoming international collaboration. “In this 21st century, international partnerships are not only key but also inevitable. The global community can offer insights, resources, and support but the solutions themselves must be born from our understanding of our unique context,” he concluded.


The event also featured distinguished speakers, including Rt. Hon. Cllr. Jonathan Fonati Koffa, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Liberia; Hon. Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya; Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group; and Michael Adefarasin, Author & Leadership Coach.


Furthermore, a high-level panel session on “Building Resilient African Economies” included distinguished panellists such as Akol Ayii, CEO of Trinity Energy Group, South Sudan; Mike Kamungeremu, President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce; Callistus Obetta, Group Executive of Technology, Digital Innovation & Services at First Bank of Nigeria; and Daere Akobo, Chairman/GCEO of PANA Holdings, Nigeria.


The highlight of the event was the awards presentation ceremony, during which Former President Kikwete was honored with the African Peace and Security Leader of the Year Award. H.E. Adanech Abiebie, Mayor of Addis Ababa City, Ethiopia, and Hon. Justice Martha Koome, Chief Justice of Kenya, were recognized as joint winners of the African Female Leader of the Year Award. Other distinguished honorees included Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of FirstBank Group, Nigeria; Jeanette Chanda Makgolo, Commissioner General of the Botswana Unified Revenue Service.


Other African leaders also honored at the event included Dr. Jesca Nkwabi, CEO of KOM Group, Tanzania; Kennedy G. Bungane, CEO of African Bank, South Africa; Henry Saamoi Bio, CEO of International Bank Liberia; Daniel Asiedu, CEO of Omisic Bank Ghana; Daere Akobo, Founder/Chairman of Pana Holdings, Nigeria; Mike Kamungeremu, President of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC); Ing. Dr. Clifford Braimah, CEO of Ghana Water Corporation Limited, Ghana; Akol E. Ayii, CEO of Trinity Energy Group, South Sudan; Dr. Biniam Belete, Founder of Mekedonia Charity Association; Dr. Zafivanona Lainkana, Director General of the Malagasy Customs Commission; Prof. George Openjuru, Vice Chancellor of Gulu University, Uganda; Engr. Worku Gachina, Director General of the Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute; Dr. The Hon. Kailesh Jagutpal, Minister of Health and Wellness, Mauritius.


The African Persons of the Year Awards – Africa’s foremost votes-based endorsement program, serves as the flagship annual event of the African Leadership Magazine, bringing together policymakers, private sector leaders, civil society leaders, thought leaders, and stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to deliberate on issues pertinent to Africa’s socio-economic growth and development.


About African Leadership Magazine

The African Leadership Magazine is the flagship publication of the African Leadership Organisation (UK) Limited. For the past 16 years, the organization has been dedicated to promoting impactful leadership in Africa and showcasing African opportunities globally. Through its various initiatives, including quality Afro-positive content, trade facilitation, market entry solutions, business networking platforms, and public sector training and consulting, the African Leadership Magazine plays a vital role in driving positive change and development across the continent.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Ehis Ayere

Email: info@africanleadership.co.uk

Phone: +44 (0) 23 9265 8276








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