He received the prestigious award here on Thursday from the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in recognition of his outstanding leadership and the innovation of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) which “opened up billions of dollars of investment into the continent”.
The ninth edition of the awards, organised by AABLA in conjunction with CNBC Africa, seeks to honour leaders who have contributed remarkably to – and helped shape – the African economy.
AIF was inaugurated last year and has been a trailblazer in tilting investments into the continent. The second edition of the Forum, which was this year held here, ended on November 13. It was attended by over 2,000 delegates and secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – up from $37.1 billion the previous year.
“It is indeed a great honour… My heartbeat is to serve the people of Africa,” Dr Adesina said in remarks at the gala dinner where the awards were announced, adding that he was overwhelmed to follow in the footsteps of his “big brother” President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who won the award last year.
The event was attended by an A-list of business leaders, government representatives and some of South Africa’s leading personalities.
The awards are decided by a jury of Africa-wide judges, led by CNBC Africa non-executive director Sam Bhembe, following evaluation of a shortlist of finalists to determine the overall category winners.
Bhembe said the award reflected how the winner would “shape the future of the African continent”, and that the winner would brace the cover of a special edition of Forbes Africa.
In other categories of the 2019 awards, Nigerian Kobo360 co-founder Obi Ozor won Young Business Leader of the Year; Naspers CEO: South Africa’s Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa took the Business Woman of the Year award; while Nedbank won the Company of the Year award.
Adesina dedicated his award “to the people of Africa who inspire me... I do not work alone”. He said it was very rewarding to be at the helm “of an organisation that paves the way to progress”.
The annual AABLA honours business excellence and leaders who have made a considerable impact on their industry and community. The award recognizes remarkable leadership and salutes game changers of business on the continent for their continuing commitment to excellence in developing best practices and innovative strategies.
Winners of the awards exemplify the best in African leadership, the core values of a successful leader being strength, innovation, ingenuity, knowledge and foresight.