Daphne Mashile Nkosi, Strive Masiyiwa, Helen Hai and Mohammed Dewji are among the top business leaders who were recognised at the 2015 African Business Awards held at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
The Awards, organised by African Business magazine, also commended leading businesses including Dangote Cement, Guaranty Trust Bank, Abellon Clean Energy, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the leading provider of mobile-delivered micro-insurance in emerging markets, BIMA.
The award for the 2015 African Business of the Year went to Dangote Cement. Helmed by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian cement behemoth plans to expand production in several countries in anticipation of an infrastructure and construction boom. The judging panel applauded Dangote Cement for its continued drive to develop new tailored products, gain market share and expand its activities throughout the continent.
“This prestigious award, which is coming at a time Dangote Cement is expanding its footprint across Africa, means a lot to us. It will encourage us to redouble our efforts as we work towards promoting Africa’s economic renaissance,” said Aliko Dangote in a statement delivered to the audience.
“We believe in an Africa which is the world’s best kept secret. We believe that it is only by sustained massive investment in infrastructure that Africa can catch up with the advanced economies”.
Daphne Mashile Nkosi, Executive Chairperson, Kalagadi Manganese, South Africa received the prestigious award for Most Outstanding Woman in Business. The judges gave special recognition for Daphne’s remarkable achievements, in an industry which has often been one dominated by men. She is responsible for the creation of over 30 000 jobs in the Northern Cape, and is the mother of the largest mining venture of its kind in the last 30 years.
Since taking over his father’s trading business in Tanzania, Business Leader of the Year Award winner, Mohammed Dewji has confidently blazed his own trail. As CEO of Tanzanian-based Mohammed Enterprise, this young businessman, still in his early forties, has acquired and turned around failing state companies in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate. Dewji’s stewardship of MeTL has led to a place on Forbes’ Richest Africans list. The 2015 Judges paid tribute to his dynamism and his visionary leadership in growing a $30m business into a $1.3bn conglomerate.
“This moment is bigger than me, this moment is for all my fellow African businessmen and women who have and continue to spearhead immense growth across Africa and the rest of the world. This moment is a symbol of hope and inspiration for the bold, intelligent and entrepreneurial youth of our continent,” he said.
Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa was honoured with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. Strive is the founder and executive chairman of diversified international telecommunications group Econet Wireless. Masiyiwa was rewarded with the Lifetime Achievement Award not only for his commercial success but also his human qualities. Masiyiwa is considered one of Africa’s most generous humanitarians and has used his wealth to provide scholarships to over 100,000 young Africans over the past 20 years through his family foundation.
“It’s a great honour and privilege to get this honour from your publication. It’s an honour to be among friends…keep up the good work,” he told the audience by video.
The 2015 African Business Icon Award goes to Helen Hai, the Chief Executive Officer of Made in Africa Initiative. This category recognises a person who has made a significant contribution to improving in the business landscape in Africa and or in the way business is done, helping in the transformation that is much talked about. Following a meeting with the late President Meles Zenawi in 2011, Helen, who is of Chinese origin, set up the Huajian Shoe Factory in Ethiopia in October 2011. The designer shoe factory has managed to double the export revenue in Ethiopia within 6 months, and in under two years has recruited 4000 local workers. She has since expanded her activities and set up a garment factory in Rwanda.
“The private sector did not come to Africa to do aid, we came to Africa to do business. But through business we achieve development goals. I’m a strong believer in Africa and I believe successful investment stories will bring inspiration, leadership, confidence and experience to the continent to realise its potential,” she said.
Guaranty Trust Bank, beat four nominees in their category to win the Award for Good Corporate Governance while Abellon Clean Energy outdid four contenders to claim the Award for Innovation. The award for Best Corporate Social Responsibility was won by the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Commenting on the Awards, Omar Ben Yedder said: “This is the seventh year that we have organised the African Business Awards. We are grateful to Zenith Bank, GTBank, Agility and Cofina for supporting African Business magazine and IC Events in bringing about this year’s awards. We have worthy winners and the work of both our winners and nominees shows what can be done on the continent with hard work and single minded determination. We would have liked to have seen more entries from the francophone world, but this may reflect the fact that English speaking countries in general have a more developed and thriving private sector.”
AFRICAN BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
- Dangote, Nigeria
BUSINESS LEADER OF THE YEAR
- Mohammed Dewji, CEO, Mohammed Enterprise, Tanzania
MOST OUTSTANDING WOMAN IN BUSINESS
- Daphne Mashile Nkosi, Executive Chairperson, Kalagadi Manganese, South Africa
AWARD FOR GOOD CORPORATE GOVERNANCE
- Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria
AWARD FOR BEST CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
- The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Nigeria
AWARD FOR INNOVATION
- Abellon Clean Energy, Ghana
INSURANCE COMPANY & INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR
- BIMA ( bimamobile.com )
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
- Strive Masiyiwa
AFRICAN BUSINESS ICON
- Helen Hai