Next Tuesday, African Business Magazine will host a gala in New York City to celebrate the continent’s leading businesses and executives. Here are the nominees for ‘African Business of the Year’ and ‘Business Leader of the Year’
African Business of the Year
Chandaria Industries, Kenya
A veteran in the East African market since 1964, the household goods company has since expanded across Africa’s central belt, providing millions with daily essentials including tissues, foil and toilet paper.
Helmed by Africa’s richest man, the Nigerian cement behemoth plans to expand production in several countries in anticipation of an infrastructure and construction boom.
With a presence across 29 countries in Africa, Middle East and the Asean regions, the front and back office service provider has boosted its fortunes by announcing a $300m call-centre outsourcing deal with MTN.
Red Media, Nigeria
With a relentless focus on the on the continent’s growing young population, the content publisher and communications firm is looking to expand its influence via news, fashion, and pop culture offerings.
Universal Auto Distribution Holding, Tunisia
Formed as an automotive-focused subsidiary under Loukil Group, UADH now spans sectors including industry, agriculture, technology and trade. It exlusively distributes Citroen and Renault Trucks in Tunisia.
Business Leader of the Year
Aliko Dangote, CEO, Dangote Group, Nigeria
2015 has been another year of aggressive expansion for Nigeria’s most famous entrepreneur, culminating in a $4.3bn deal with China’s Sinoma to build seven new plants across the continent. Dangote’s firm has moved confidently beyond cement, embracing agriculture, oil and fertiliser businesses.
Mohammed Dewji, CEO, Mohammed Enterprise, Tanzani
Since taking over his father’s trading business, Dewji has confidently blazed his own trail, acquiring and turning around failing state companies in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, agriculture, and real estate. Dewji’s stewardship of MeTL has led to a place on Forbes’ Richest Africans list.
Ivor Ichikowitz, CEO, Paramount, South Africa
Paramount’s status as Africa’s largest defence and aerospace business has led Ichikowitz to expand into other areas, including mining, tourism, finance and even dentistry.
Bassem Loukil, CEO, Groupe Loukil, Groupe UADH, Tunisia
Responsible for one of the largest conglomerates in Tunisia, Bassem Loukil juggles interests in industry, agribusiness, technology and automotives.
Oscar Onyema, DG, The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Nigeria
Onyema’s NSE has set itself some ambitious goals this year, including the launching of a Premium Board for the largest blue-chip companies. The exchange is also hoping to more than double its market cap as a percentage of GDP by 2019
Most Outstanding Woman in Business
Amy Jadesimi, MD, Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics Base, Nigeria
A Stanford Business School and Oxford graduate, Jadesimi believes that local Nigerians can transform their country by investing in transformative infrastructure projects. She also works with NGOs on microfinance and maternal mortality projects.
Gina Din Kariuki, Founder & Executive Chair, The Gina Din Group, Kenya
As founder of Gina Din, an independent communications agency in East Africa, Kariuka is blazing a trail for African PR by working with leading brands including Safaricom, Kenya Airways and the Kenya Red Cross.
Daphne Mashile Nkosi, Executive Chairperson, Kalagadi Manganese, South Africa
As executive chairperson of Kalagadi Resources, Nkosi has been instrumental in building the world’s largest manganese sinter plant and is well on her way to finishing construction of a critical mine. She continues to back women-led start-up businesses and ambitious female students.
Jasandra Nyker, CEO, BioTherm Energy, South Africa
South Africa’s Nyker targets opportunities in the renewable energy and project development space, building on a long career in private equity and alternative investments.
Award for Innovation
Abellon Clean Energy, Ghana
Abellon is positioning bioenergy as a sustainable energy source for Ghana by manufacturing pellets, producing biofuels and rotating crop plantations.
International Human Resources Development Corp (IHRDC)
IHRDC trains workers in Africa’s hugely important oil and gas industries, using instructional programmes, e-learning tools and software to prepare them for success.
Invest in Africa
An umbrella organisation for companies interested in doing business in Africa, Invest in Africa aims to break down barriers by targeting improvements to free trade, contracts and long term capacity.
Uganda Industrial Research Institute, Uganda
The Ugandan government agency is aiming to raise the level of technology development in the country and the wider region by undertaking research and acquiring or developing technology.
As more and more Zambians get online, XYPNET stands ready to provide IT solutions by offering web and email hosting, software development and web design.
Award for Best Corporate Social Responsibility
GEMS Education and the Varkey Foundation
The international education company works with the Varkey Foundation to help build the capacity of teachers in Kenya and Lesotho to teach science, tech and maths to girls and women. Other African work includes clean water and toilets for Tanzanian schools and helping to rebuild Kenya’s Kibera slum.
ISON BPO, Kenya
The office services company has committed itself to reserve 5% of its total workforce to youth employment, especially from marginalised societies. It also works with NGOs across the continent to connect disadvantaged youths to the economy.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, Nigeria
The NSE runs an Inspire Programme that helps young people to bridge the gap between academic experience and the professional world by undertaking work experience at the bourse. It has also run a number of educational initiatives around Global Money Week.
Red Media Limited, Nigeria
The corporate communications firm has launched a pathway for employees to achieve ownership in the company and share in its financial prosperity. The firm has also launched initiatives to improve the work-life balance of staff.