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Diasporian News of Saturday, 9 June 2012

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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 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

-End-

About **African Business**

**African Business** is the bestselling pan-African monthly business magazine. It has been published by

IC Publications for over 35 years. Each month, the magazine brings the very best business and financial features and reports to readers all over Africa and the world. Its award-winning team is widely respected for its editorial excellence. We provide the all-important tools enabling readers to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. The Special Reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including transport, energy, mining, construction, aviation and agriculture. The readers include decision makers in the private and public sectors, government officials and leaders across Africa, Europe and the US. This year, African Business and its journalists have been nominated for three of the major prizes at the Diageo African Business Reporting Awards.

**About Commonwealth Business Council (CBC)**

The CBC was established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in October 1997 to involve the private sector in the promotion of trade and investment. The CBC acts as a bridge for cooperation between business and government, concentrating on efforts to help remove barriers to trade, mobilize investment into Commonwealth countries, foster a good environment for business and investment, promote good practice in corporate governance and corporate citizenship, and facilitate the engagement of the private sector in information communication technology for development initiatives, especially in less developed countries. The African Business Awards are held as an integral part of the Africa Business Forum. This annual event convened by the CBC enables business and government leaders to jointly assess progress in promoting growth and development in Africa, and take steps to meet emerging challenges. It is attended by African and global leaders and provides a unique profiling of African business in global markets.

**About IC Events – IC Publications**

IC Publications has over 50 years' experience in publishing magazines, newsletters, country supplements, industry reports and market intelligence on Africa. Our market-leading titles (**African Business, African Banker, New African**, and **New African Woman**) are published in both English and French, with a combined global readership of over 2 million.

IC Events was established to complement IC Publication's publishing arm. Together with its dedicated team of specialists and extensive network of contacts, IC Events tailors innovative forums, roundtables and workshops responding to the most pressing issues in Africa. IC Events' activities are 100% results-driven, bringing together major stakeholders and partners involved in the topics tackled to achieve concrete action plans.

**About BusinessinAfrica Events (BIAE)**

BIAE is a leading UK-based business communication company specialising in live events, public relations, media relations and reputation management for corporate clients, regulatory agencies and governments, with a focus on Africa.

Contact: awards@africasia.com (mailto:awards@africasia.com)

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