The shortlist of finalists for the fourth edition of the highly prestigious African Business Awards has been announced.

This year’s selection boasts of an impressive list of contenders with several newcomers up in the running, promising the judging panel a tough time in selecting the final winner for each category of the Awards.

The company, mPedigree Network, founded by Ghanaian Activist, Bright Simons, the inventor of the SMS-shortcode method for instant detection of counterfeiting, is the only Ghanaian company and also the only social enterprise (a company that tracks both social impact and commercial results) to make the final shortlist.

Commenting on the honour, Selorm Branttie, mPedigree Ghana’s Strategy Director, said, “ I think we have broken the tide. Our selection alongside some of Africa’s biggest companies for the innovation prize clearly indicate that the time has come for African and global leaders to look to innovation from the grassroots, youth and SMEs as the best response to Africa’s developmental challenges.”

Other highly competitive categories in the Awards are “Business Leader of the Year” and “Businesswoman of the Year” prizes.

The nominees for the esteemed Award for Business Leader of the Year include Vimal Shah of Bidco, Kenya; Aliko Dangote CEO of the Dangote Group, Nigeria; James Mwangi of Equity Bank, Kenya; Niza Juma, Chairman of Jubilee Holdings, also from Kenya and Phuthuma Freedom Nhleko, former CEO of MTN Group.

This year’s Award for Outstanding Businesswoman features a crop of stellar candidates who have made a significant mark on the business landscape in Africa and abroad. They are Sandie Okoro with Barings Asset Management; Stella Kilonzo, Chief Executive of the Kenya Capital Markets Authority; Pedu Adebajo of the Mouka group in Nigeria; and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder and Managing Director of footwear company soleRebels of Ethiopia.

Organised by IC Publications, publishers of the African Business magazine, the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), and BusinessinAfrica Events, the African Business Awards brings together prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs, heads of state and other high-ranking government officials from across the world to celebrate the achievements and successes of those who have played a pivotal role in driving Africa’s economic development forward. Now in its fourth year, the African Business Awards has established itself as the key annual event on the calendars of the African business community.

The winners would have made an outstanding contribution to the development of the continent, the economic aspirations of its citizens and the transformation of Africa’s image in international markets, while displaying high standards of good corporate citizenship and social and environmental responsibility.

Commenting on this year’s Awards, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Business magazine, emphasised the quality of nominees and the extraordinary calibre of the finalists.

Mohan Kaul, Director General and CEO of the Commonwealth Business Council stressed the importance of the African Business Awards: “The awards have become a benchmark for institutions across Africa and a reminder of the amazing achievements which are currently unfolding throughout the continent. And we are delighted to announce that an SADC delegation headed by HE Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia will be joining us during the Awards ceremony as well as the Africa Business Forum which will take place during the day of the 22nd.”

A distinguished and independent panel of judges, known and respected for their business expertise on the African region, will decide on the final winners of each award. The judges for this year’s Awards are: Omari Issa, CEO, Investment Climate Facility for Africa; Ruma Alam, CEO, Development Partners International; Amadou Ba, President and Director, AllAfrica Global Media; Sir. Samuel Esson Jonah, Founder, Jonah Capital; Tim Turner, Director Private Sector, African Development Bank; Barbara James, Founder and CEO, Henshaw Capital Partners; and Jean-Louis Ekra, CEO, Afrexim Bank.

The full list of nominees can be found at www.african-business-awards.com.

The winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Grosvenor House hotel in London on Wednesday, 22nd June. This year’s Awards is sponsored by Ecobank and Bank of Industry as Associate sponsors Brussels Airlines as Preferred Airline.

Credit: Africa Business Awards, IC Investments Ltd.

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