By Cecilia Ologunagba
Abuja, Oct 29, 2020 (NAN) Speak Up Africa, a strategic communications and advocacy organisation, has recognised Ecobank and other leading figures in public health across Africa for their remarkable leadership in sustainable development.
A statement issued on Thursday by the organisation from Dakar, Senegal, stated that the personalities were recognised at 2020 Leadership Awards anchored by advocacy and policy action tank `Speak Up Africa’.
According to the statement, the award celebrates individuals and organisations for demonstrating exemplary leadership and impacting positively through works and initiatives.
“Presented at Speak Up Africa’s 9th anniversary, the award recognises those who have raised awareness and driven action around important public health issues such as malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), immunisation, sanitation and COVID-19.
“Winners include the Confederation of African Football (CAF), pan-African banking conglomerate Ecobank and Mr Salomon Dopavogui, Executive Director of Jeunesse Secours, an organisation based in Guinea and member of the’ No to NTDs Civil Society Network.’
“Others are leading figures in public health across Africa, including Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger and Mrs Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, who were recognised for their remarkable roles,’’ the statement said.
It pointed out that in July 2020, Ecobank launched the Zero Malaria Business Leadership Initiative in partnership with Speak Up Africa.
“It launched it as part of The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership to End Malaria and The African Union Commission’s Zero Malaria Starts with Me movement.
“Ecobank is leading private sector organisations in the fight against malaria, mobilising support and funding across the continent,’’ the statement added.
The statement quoted Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Ecobank Group, as saying, “ultimately, ending malaria will increase prosperity across Africa, with a healthier population that drives economic growth.
“As an organisation, we are proud to receive Speak Up Africa’s Leadership Award.
“We hope that we can continue to use our positions as a platform to raise awareness and inspire action against this deadly disease”.
According to the statement, CAF has been a strong advocate for raising awareness on public health issues, particularly this year with its involvement in the Stay Safe Africa campaign.
The campaign seeks to educate the public on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Speak Up Africa commends CAF’s dedication to bringing the Stay Safe Africa campaign to a new audience and ensuring that factual information was disseminated to a wider public.
The statement also quoted Yacine Djibo, Executive Director of Speak Up Africa as saying, “2020 has introduced many new challenges in our journey to drive sustainable development for the continent.
“Despite the difficulties presented by the ongoing pandemic, we’ve seen remarkable collaborations and new initiatives across the continent.
“In the current context, we are therefore particularly delighted to recognise such strong leadership from this year’s worthy awardees”.
In addition, the organisation said Mahamadou Issoufou, President of the Republic of Niger had been a dedicated champion for sustainable development.
“His Excellency hosted Speak Up Africa’s high-level event on the sideline of the African Union Summit held in Niger and recently expressed his desire to further speak up Africa’s work to end NTDs in the continent’’
The statement also said that Mrs Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr OBE was recognised for her efforts as a malaria elimination champion in Sierra Leone.
“Through her work as Mayor of Sierra Leone’s capital city, Mrs Aki-Sawyerr also dedicates her time to improve access to water and sanitation at a national level,’’ it stated.