The finals of the AABLAs saw South African finalists Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner – CEOs of marketing advisory services firm, Creative Counsel – take the Young Business Leader(s) of the Year award while Brimstone Investment Corporation founder, Fred Robertson was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year.
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Business Woman of the Year was awarded to Keroche Breweries CEO, Tabitha Karanja and Business Leader of the Year was awarded to EOH CEO, Asher Bohbot.
IPP Limited owner and executive chairman, Reginald Mengi received the Lifetime Achievement award for 2014.
The awards, presented by Johnnie Walker Blue Label, aim to recognise and celebrate excellence in business across the African continent.
“We are here to celebrate African corporate success and leadership. As we anxiously await the verdict of the judges, I’d like to take the opportunity to congratulate all our finalists. I don’t envy the role of the judges – today they choose the winner of winners,” said ABN co-founder and vice chairman, Rakesh Wahi.
“I’d like to dedicate these awards to the thousands of people that stand behind leaders, toiling hard, day after day, making sure that we achieve our goals, despite the challenges, and sometimes disagreements. The glory truly belongs to them.”
Gauteng Economic Development MEC and keynote speaker, Lebogang Maile further emphasised the importance of the AABLAs to the economic freedom of the country and the continent.
“The Africa Business Leaders Awards are an important catalyst, through which we must recognise the contribution of our entrepreneurs in the ongoing endeavour to realise Africa’s potential,” he said.
“These awards should not be viewed as just competition amongst business leaders but must be used as a yardstick to measure whether we are making significant progress in our task to innovate and develop more enterprises and eradicate the culture of dependency from the state.”
Wahi reflected on the fact that he celebrates 10 years in Africa this year and on the significant changes that have occurred during this decade.
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“These changes are all for the better. The most distinct change of all is how the outside world is now paying attention to what’s happening on our continent. It’s not that we lacked attention before, it is now for the right reasons,” he stated.
“The days are gone where people discussed the negative aspects of Africa or only focused on taking resources out of the continent. Today they are lining up to be part of an unprecedented growth story. To be successful on the continent, you have to be patient and look at business opportunities in the long term.”