by Abn Productions

Forbes Africa awards

Mwangi gets top honour

Dr James Mwangi (centre) acknowledges his accolades.

Dr James Mwangi, chief executive and managing director of Equity Bank in Kenya, was named the ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2012’ on Thursday, 29 November, at the prestigious Porsche Centre in Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. 

In his welcome address, Frederic van de Vyver, ABN Group head of West Africa, stated: “Forbes is one of the world’s most well-known and respected business media brands, highlighting stories of entrepreneurship and exemplary leadership. With Forbes Africa, we have the continent’s first ever international business publication localised for the African executive.”

Said MD of the ABN Group, Roberta Naidoo, “The Person of the Year Award recognises the individual who has made a significant impact in business through economic growth by creating employment and spearheading innovation in the continent, having the most influence on the events of the year gone by.”

The event debuted in 2011 with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as the recipient of the award for his stand against corruption. He went on to grace the December/January cover of Forbes Africa Magazine.

Dr Mwangi heads Equity Bank, Kenya's largest bank by deposits, with more than eight million customers. He transformed a liquidated micro-finance institution into one of the largest and profitable commercial banks in Africa.

He has driven the bank's aim to transform the lives and livelihoods of people socially and economically by giving them access to modern, inclusive financial services that maximise their opportunities.

Mwangi has been pivotal in the bank's investment in a robust information technology platform that can accommodate 35 million accounts, as well as a level-four data centre – the only one of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa – giving Equity a lead in creating synergy between banking and mobile telephones.

The award was presented by MD of Forbes Africa Magazine, Chris Bishop. In his acceptance speech, Dr Mwangi asked that “all Africans should brace up and take up the challenge of improving Africa, as our generation could go into the annals of history as the one that changed the African continent for good.”

The nominees for the Person of the Year Award were submitted by various industries as well as Forbes Africa readers who voted online. The hundreds of nominees were then short-listed by Forbes Africa’s seasoned panellists.

The five finalists for the ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2012’ were: Aliko Dangote (founder and president, Dangote Group), James Mwangi (CEO and MD, Equity Bank, Kenya), Tony Elumelu (founder and chairperson, Heirs Holdings and The Tony Elumelu Foundation), Joyce Banda (president of Malawi) and Steven Saad (co-founder, Aspen Pharmaceuticals).

The ceremony was sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc, Kedari Capital Limited, Nestoil Plc, Keystone Bank, africa practice, The Porsche Centre, Moët & Chandon and Uniglobal Togo.


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