CNBC Africa’s Southern African winners of the 2014 All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLAs) were announced last week Thursday at Montecasino in Fourways, a northern surburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. The AABLAs salutes Africa’s game-changers who have made significant contributions to the continent’s growing business landscape. Additionally, the AABLA distinguishes and honors Africa’s remarkable leaders who are shaping the African economy and are visionaries behind today’s outstanding businesses across Africa.
Named one of the “20 Youngest Power Women In Africa” in 2011 by Forbes, Phuti Mahanyele, Chief Executive Officer of the Shanduka Group, one of South Africa’s largest African-owned and African-managed investment holding companies, won the ForbesWoman Africa 2014 Business Woman of the Year award. The South African corporate powerhouse was also named “Top 50 women in the world to watch in 2008” by The Wall Street Journal and in 2007, she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Young Leader.
Speaking from the event, Editor of ForbesWoman Africa magazine, Renuka Methil said that it “is both an honor and a privilege to hand the ForbesWoman Africa Business Woman of the Year Award to Phuti Mahanyele. It’s easy to see why Phuti Mahanyele is so successful in business: she has a sharp mind and a warm, endearing personality so crucial for building relationships. She champions the cause of other women and is so full of life!”
Mahanyele was the only African woman on the “Expanding Opportunities: The New Era For Business In Africa” panel moderated by former President Bill Clinton at the recently-held U.S.- Africa Leaders Summit in Washington D.C. The panel, which included Nigerian billionaire and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, centered on foreign investment in Africa as well as U.S. and African business partnerships. Mahanyele, in responding to the question on how to accelerate business partnerships, flow of investments and creation of jobs from an African perspective, said, “we need to look at areas that are challenging for us as African countries. The key area for us is around the young people that we have in Africa; 15 to 25 year-old’s make up 60% of the population of the continent today. A key issue is to make sure that those people are educated to be able to contribute towards the continued growth of our economies on the continent. In looking at our partnerships, at Shanduka we have been able to create partnerships with McDonalds and with Coca Cola – that has been a key area for us – for example, with McDonalds, today we employ 11,300 people in South Africa – what we have done is educate and employ young people coming into our business.”
Additionally, Mahanyele advised “American investors coming into the African continent… be willing to invest in the infrastructure requirements of the country… whether it is investing in the people of that country or investing in the infrastructure requirements …be able to do that prior to that the actual investment in the business…”
Phuti Mahanyele, Chief Executive Officer, Shanduka Group
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Phuthuma Nhleko, the former CEO of the MTN Group who was described as a “remarkable leader who has shaped the region’s business climate through dedication to best practices and innovation.” Asher Bohbot, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EOH Holdings was awarded Business Leader of the Year for his pioneering vision through his South Africa-based IT company. The Entrepreneur of the Year award was given to Fred Robertson, founder and Executive Chairman of Brimstone Investment Corporation, a Cape Town-based company. The Young Business Leader of the Year award was jointly presented to Ran Neu-Ner and Gil Oved, co-CEOs of marketing advisory services firm, Creative Counsel, for their innovative entrepreneurial spirits.
The judges were Yunus Suleman, Chairman of KPMG, Africa; Lyal White, director of the Centre for Dynamic Markets (CDM) at the Gordon Institute for Business Science (GIBS), University of Pretoria; Nombulelo Pinky Moholi, former Chief Executive Officer, Telkom and Non-Executive Director of Anglo American Platinum Limited and Old Mutual Emerging Markets (OMEM) and Chris Bishop, Managing Editor, Forbes Africa.
The West African round of the AABLAs will take place in Lagos, Nigeria on the 23 October 2014 with the finale set for the 14 November, where all regional winners will compete for the ultimate title of Africa’s most prestigious business leaders.
For more information, go to www.aabla2014.com