Outstanding East African business leaders were awarded on Thursday night at this year’s annual All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) which took place at the Kigali Convention Centre.
In their sixth year, the awards recognise those who exemplified exceptional leadership in business.
The awards ceremony was graced by several business leaders, government officials and members of the private sector, among others.
The list of the night’s winners included companies and individual Rwandans who won numerous accolades.
The winners included Bank of Kigali that won the Company of the Year award, Egide Gatera the chairperson of SP Group who was awarded the Business Leader of the Year, Claver Mugabo, the CEO of Trust Industries, who won the Industrialist of the Year, and Jacques Rusirare of Ameki Group took the award of the Lifetime Achievement Award for East Africa.
Speaking during the ceremony, Amb. Clever Gatete, the minister for finance and economic planning, commended the efforts of the organisers and the business leaders in the region for their role in the continent's development.
“I thank everyone who turned up tonight and most especially the organisers for the unique efforts they have invested in recognising the people who are making a difference in the region. There’s no sustainable growth without the private sector,” Gatete noted.
The minister said there’s a need for the East African region to work together and boost businesses as this will ensure increased investments on the continent.
“In 2008 and 2009 there was a global financial crisis that affected everyone, we had the Arab spring in 2011. Later on there was a debt crisis in Europe and low demand that we had nowhere to take our products. On the other hand, the recent China economy crisis affected most of us, and now we have Brexit. The only choice we can take is to come back to Africa, attract investments and ensure regional integration. Therefore, we must work together to remove the barriers that limit the private sector to thrive,” he said.
Rakesh Wahi, the brains behind these awards and the Chairman of CMA Investment Holdings, commended the country’s leadership for creating an enabling business environment for all.
“I came in February dand I didn’t think the Convention Centre would be ready for the African Union summit. But this is Rwanda, things happen. I would like to applaud the Government of Rwanda and its leadership for having created an enabling environment for doing business,” he said.