Titans of business recognised at the Afreximbank Pan-African Business and Development Awards


At a gala dinner attended by leading dignitaries, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary hosted the inaugural Pan-African Business and Development Awards in association with the Business Council for Africa, in Accra-Ghana.

The Pan-African Business and Development Awards were designed to celebrate and recognise the excellence of outstanding organisations and individuals within the African business and finance sectors.

The evening recognised some leaders in African business – and Aliko Dangote (GCON) won the Afreximbank Founder of the Year in recognition of his extraordinary achievements in building one of Africa’s leading industrial groups with a truly pan-African footprint. This comes on the back of the recent official opening of his US$19bn petrochemicals plant and Africa’s largest refinery, which received substantial support from Afreximbank.

Two other greats of industry, the Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa and Togolese Koffi Gervais Djondo were also recognised for their outstanding contributions to African business and industry. Masiyiwa is the founder of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, which has the largest network of fibre-optic cables on the continent, and Cassava Technologies and Econet – the largest telecoms and mobile payment operator in Zimbabwe. Djondo helped found Ecobank, the leading African group in terms of footprint, as well as regional airline Asky.

The Pan-African Business of the Year went to Ethiopian Airlines, which has had phenomenal success and showcases the best of Africa: a profitable and well-run airline that rose up to the challenge of Covid, working alongside Afreximbank and the Africa CDC to distribute critical medical equipment and vaccines across the continent.

Telecoms operator MTN and Egyptian business ElSewedy were also given Special Recognitions in this category. MTN was recognised for transforming the Africa telecoms sector and ElSewedy for its role in the Africa infrastructure sector. ElSewedy and Afreximbank have built a strong relationship that has seen its group become a true continental champion, and part of a consortium of African banks and private sector companies that are building the multi-billion-dollar Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project in Tanzania.

Three banks were recognised in the Financial Institutions of the Year category. National Bank of Egypt, First Bank of Nigeria and Coris Bank – an important regional player in West Africa that started off in Burkina Faso, were chosen based on the volume of trade finance facilities they have utilised.

Eight recognition awards were also handed to some staff members of Afreximbank to acknowledge their long service at the bank: including Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board, who has been at the bank for over 29 years.

Commenting on the Awards ceremony, he said: “Tonight we are recognising so many outstanding leaders. Having joined the bank in 1994, I’e been fortunate to have worked with so many of them and seen them grow. We have supported them during this journey, and they have helped make the bank what it is today. These are the mutually beneficial partnerships which will help transform the continent we so love. At Afreximbank, contributing to Africa’s development is a lifetime vocation – as I know it is for all those that we have recognised tonight”.

In recognising these leaders and institutions, Arnold Ekpe – chair of the BCA and former Group CEO of Ecobank said: “Too often our business leaders do not get the praise they deserve. Succeeding in business on the continent is not always easy but it is rewarding, and more importantly it is possible to build strong, profitable businesses that are globally competitive. Our winners tonight have demonstrated this”.

The Awards were launched by Afreximbank in association the BCA, and this year’s edition was organised in collaboration with IC Publications and Brand Communications. They were launched to recognise those organisations and leaders which epitomise the Pan-African spirit by leading the way in building substantive and transformational cross-border businesses.



Pan-African Business of the Year

Winner: Ethiopian Airlines

Special Recognition:

ElSewedy Electricals

MTN Group

Afreximbank Founder of the Year

Aliko Dangote [GCON], Chairman & CEO, Dangote Group

Special Recognition:

Koffi Gervais Djondo, Founder-Ecobank; Founder-Asky Airlines

Strive Masiyiwa, Founder-Liquid Intelligent Technologies; Founder-Econet Global and Econet Media, Founder-Cassava Technologies

Financial Institutions of the Year

National Bank of Egypt

First Bank of Nigeria

Coris Bank


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