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09.06.2012 Africa

Africa's top businesses honoured at Awards ceremony

By African Business
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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 300 guests that included BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi, the minister of trade for Burundi, the minister of commerce for Zambia, and Jean-Louis Ekra, President of the African Export-Import Bank.

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.

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 were launched 5 years ago to reward not only successful businesses but those which had a positive impact on their communities and the country or region they operate in, what President Sata of Zambia called 'profit with a human face'. We also wanted to encourage sustainable and inclusive growth. And I feel that the winners tonight have certainly risen to the challenge and are fulfilling these objectives. We have rewarded true pioneers operating on the African continent and we hope they will act as a benchmark for others to follow suit."

Sir Alan Collins, Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council, during a heart-felt speech, emphasised that "Africa is open for business”.

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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