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Friday, 15 June 2012

Africa's Top Businesses Honoured at Awards Ceremony

Africa's leading business figures assembled this evening for the fifth annual African Business Awards in London.  The popular event for celebrating excellence and achievement in African business took place at the exclusive Grosvenor House with a high level audience of over 350 guests that included African ministers, diplomats, government officials, bankers and businessmen.

It was a SME that stole the show as Innoson, lead by Nigerian entrepreneur Innocent Chukwuma took the most coveted title of African Business of the Year. The new Award for Best Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism in Africa was won by Serena Hotels from Kenya.

Egbert Imomoh, co-founder and Chairman of  Afren, won the Business Leader of the Year Award. He emphasised that “Africa’s time has come to realize its full potential. Some of the most inspiring and transformational changes I see across Africa lie outside our traditional areas of strength and offer perhaps the brightest prospects for the future. Companies are now judged , not by how fast they are growing , as growth is assumed, but by whether they are growing faster than the competition”.

The Nigerian conglomerate Dangote Group, whose recent expansion and production plans are currently being flagged in the news, won the Investor of the Year Award and received the Trophy from  Robert Sichinga, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia.

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Manu Chandaria, who has been hailed as "one of Kenya's leading industrialists".  Applauded by a standing ovation from the audience, he was given special credit for having built a world class conglomerate and set a benchmark for his peers and for young entrepreneurs across the African continent to follow.

Omar BenYedder, Publisher of African Business magazine stated “The Awards highlight the modernization of business throughout the continent and set a benchmark in Africa in the way business is being done. We wanted to encourage those who are making a change, recognizing those who in many cases had to overcome much much more than their counterparts elsewhere In the world to succeed and pierce through. Africa has smart, young, ambitious and highly articulate professionals and phenomenally talented entrepreneurs, many at the helm of fast growing and dynamic companies. We are seeing African visionaries and pioneers as well as indigenous companies taking the lead and developing homegrown solutions to our problems”.

Sir Alan Collins, Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council, commented “The Awards have become an important and prestigious occasion to celebrate African excellence and  recognise the achievements of African businesses and governments that have been contributing to sustained economic growth in the continent. By celebrating success, we aim to inspire others. We hope that such inspiration will lead to new business growth and new investment. It is encouraging that there is more and more examples of excellence and business success in Africa, creating more opportunities that are ripe for investment. The success of these Awards relies heavily on the commitment and vision of IC Events to convey a new image of Africa, one that highlights the professionalism, ingenuity and innovation of business in Africa”

The African Business Awards are organised by African Business magazine and Commonwealth Business Council in partnership with BusinessinAfrica Events.  A distinguished panel of judges selected winners in eight categories from a pool of nominees that came from all over the African continent. The winners of the remaining categories were selected by the advisory board comprising of the editorial team of African Business magazine, and experts from the CBC.


Winners
Most Outstanding Woman of the Year
Rachel Zodwa Mabaso, Founder/Managing Director, Mboweni Mineral Resources, South Africa

Award for Innovation
Entrepreneurial Finance Lab, South Africa

Investor of the Year
Dangote, Nigeria

Special Commendation
Olam, Gabon

Award for Environmental Sustainability in Africa
Nedbank Group, South Africa
BTI Millman, Kenya

Best Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism in Africa
Serena Hotels, Kenya

Award for Good Corporate Governance
Diageo Africa

Best Corporate Social Responsibility
BHP Billiton

Business Leader of the Year
Egbert Imomoh, Non-Executive Chairman, Afren

African Business of the Year
Innocent Chukwuma (Innoson)

Award for Best Agricultural Development
OCP, Morocco

Country Achievement for Sustained Improvement in Investment Climate
Rwanda

Creative Industry Award
Duro Olowu

Lifetime Achievement Award
Manu Chandaria, Kenya

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