… Adefarasin, Ekeh, Ahmadu win Forbes’ awards
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the weekend disclosed that Nigeria attracted $10 billion investment during the first half of the year.
Although investment announcements are not actual investments, they indicate investors’ interest in Nigeria.
Osinbajo made the disclosure in an address he delivered during the Forbes Best of Africa award ceremony organised virtually by the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) in collaboration with Forbes, where three Nigerians were among recipients of the award.
The event was captioned, ‘FIN Leadership and Philanthropy Roundtable Discussion and Forbes Best of Africa Award.’
The vice president said: “Nigeria is open for business and its investment climate is improving. Nigeria recorded an investment announcement in the first half of 2021 of $10.1 billion, an increase of 100 per cent compared with the year 2020.
“Investors in China, Morocco and the UK are making strong commitment and this administration is working tirelessly to ensure that these commitments turn into projects to positively affect our nations.”
Osinbajo, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Industries, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebanjo, expressed delight to have identified with the award ceremony, saying it was an opportunity to celebrate the best of Africa’s exemplary leaders in commerce and industry.
The Nigerian recipients of the award were the Pastor of the Church on the Rock, Rev. Paul Adefarasin; Group Executive Chairman of Mahtari Group and Founder of Zinox Technologies, Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh, and the Founder and Executive Chairman of OIS, also known as Online Integrated Solutions Limited, Mr. Mahmood Ahmadu.
Adefarasin received the Forbes ‘Best of Africa Most Influential Personality of Year 2021,’ award, while Ekeh won the Forbes ‘Best of Africa Leading Tech’ award.
Similarly, Ahmadu emerged the winner of the ‘Best of Africa Corporate Vision Leadership’ award.
Adefarasin expressed gratitude to Forbes Global and the FIN for conferring the award on him, saying, “on behalf of all the good people who make up my team, especially my wife and my family I hereby accept the award.”
He said: “My job is to inspire. But Forbes measures the effect of the inspiration. God has endowed Africa with enormous volume of natural and human resources so there ought to be no poverty on the African continent.
“Our problem, however, is and has been for the last millennium, the question of vision and leadership. The big challenge for Africa is poor leadership and ineptitude in the management science. It is no secret that we struggle with the management of our vast endowments and opportunities.
“However, the good news is that things are turning and times are changing and, therefore, what this award means is that the vocal and other exhortations of a messenger of hope are not without signification; that indeed the African dream is still alive.
“I believe in the Africa dream. I believe in the African. I believe in the youth of Africa particularly because through their endavours a new Africa is moving out from the old. Gone are the moribund ideas of yesteryears, gone is the regimental command and control economies that were full of contradictions.”
Speaking in the same vein, Ekeh expressed appreciation over the award.
He said the recognition justified the decision he took to come back to Nigeria after completing his graduate and post graduate studies abroad, not knowing whether Africa would witness technological revolution in 30 years’ time.
But, 30 years later, he said the Zinox Group he founded has become the biggest technology integrated group in Sub-Saharan Africa, with eight successful entities that, “have been able to bring to reality the power of technology in transforming lives and taking many into the digital ecosystem and providing employment to 5000 persons and indirect employment to over 250,000.
“Indeed the world is currently a technologically global village. Technology remains the only profession in the world today that can transform an indigent child into the richest person in the world.”
Ahmadu, in the same vein, appreciated his award, which he said was the second time he would be winning in two consecutive years in 2020 and 2021.
Chairman of FIN, Ms. Olayinka Fayomi, said leadership and philanthropy were crucial to the future of African economy, saying they have, “helped countries all over the world to fight poverty, support the building of health and educational infrastructure, improve our social economic standing and help to strengthen our democratic institutions. Indeed, philanthropy has helped made the world a better place.”