Nigerian wins African business leader award

A Nigerian banker was named African Business Leader of 2006 in a magazine-sponsored competition to honour major contributors to economic development on the world’s poorest continent.

Tony Elumelu, chief executive officer of the Lagos-based United Bank for Africa, was hailed by United Kingdom-based African Investor Magazine as a believer in excellence.

“Under Elumelu’s leadership, UBA’s share price has risen by over 60% since August 2005, indicating increased customer satisfaction, excellent performance and investor confidence,” said a citation read at the awards in Nairobi late on Thursday.

“He passionately espouses the view that Africans can match or surpass their foreign counterparts in commercial and business endeavours.”

Another Nigerian banker Cecilia Ibru, managing director and chief executive of Oceanic Bank, was named Businesswoman of the Year.

“Ibru has led the privately owned bank to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and become one of the first five banks in the oil-rich country to exceed the 25-billion naira ($194,9-million) minimum capitalisation,” the citation said.

In other categories of the Africa Investor Awards, United States firm Marathon Oil won the prize for Best Initiative in Support of Millennium Development Goals for a $12-million anti-malaria project on an island off Equatorial Guinea.

The Infrastructure Deal of the Year was won by PesaPoint Kenya, a company set up in March 2005 to provide a network of automatic teller machines across the East African country.

The third annual awards were the culmination of a day-long meeting in Nairobi between private sector companies interested in investing in Africa’s infrastructure and public sector.

John Willoughby, deputy CEO of Africa’s home-grown recovery plan the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), said the meeting was intended to attract more private capital into badly-needed infrastructure projects. - Reuters


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