Top winners from this year’s 2022 AABLA

After a two-year hiatus, the 10th edition of the All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA, in partnership with CNBC Africa, was hosted during a prestigious awards’ ceremony at Sun City Superbowl on Friday, 3 June. Attended by some of the continent’s most impactful business leaders, innovators and philanthropists, the awards recognised the incredible work being done for – and by – Africa’s people.

Speaking at the awards’ ceremony, Roberta Naicker, Managing Director for the ABN Group, noted that this wasn’t only a decade of the awards, but a notable milestone for CNBC Africa which turned 15 in June.

“This has not only been a night to acknowledge amazing leadership, it has also been a night to celebrate the CNBC Africa journey. It is a celebration of all the challenges we conquered, the happiness we have shared and a celebration of the family that we have become. A celebration of our people and a celebration of our vision. 15 years is a major milestone for any institution, as it is for any individual… Tonight, we celebrate the fact that through CNBC Africa, the African continent became part of the global financial story.”

Rakesh Wahi, CNBC Africa Co-Founder, gave insight into the establishment of the awards, explaining that they were set up more than a decade ago to honour ordinary men and women, who “despite all the challenges and disruption, have taken extraordinary decisions to lead their organisations to glory”.

“Their success is not just in profitability, but in championing transformation in all its forms, embracing change, adopting inclusivity and becoming role models to future generations of business leaders,” commented Wahi. “We are here to celebrate success and on behalf of all of you, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our finalists tonight. They, along with our distinguished alumni, represent African leadership at its best.”

1.       All Africa Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr Reuel J Khoza, Chairman of Dzana Investments, and a distinguished Africanist, author, thought-leader, business leader, took home the illustrious All Africa Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr Khoza is the president of IoDSA (Institute of Directors Southern Africa), a renowned public speaker and change agent at the forefront of transformation in the South African political economy. He serves as Chairman of Dzana Investments (Pty) Ltd, Chairman of Assupol Group and Chairman of Discovery Bank, and was recently inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame.

“From my vantage point, the Africa I would like to see realised is one whose scope for growth and development is limited only by its imagination. I exhort us to actively promote an Africa whose thinking leaders are nurtured by our wholesome constitutional principles and insatiable inquiry,” stated Dr Khoza on acceptance of the award. “The kind of Africa I envision is one whose airwaves and media are dominated by issues of national and continental concern, images and aspirations…Those who support Africa can help and encourage us, but in the final analysis, Africa will be the instrument of her own salvation. It is through her own transformational leadership that Africa will develop itself.”

2.       All Africa Business Woman of the Year

Shirley Machaba, CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Southern Africa took home the All Africa Business Woman of the Year title for her tireless work. Machaba has been a partner in PwC Assurance Services for 18 years; is a Chartered Accountant and qualified Chartered Director Southern Africa (CD (SA)) with more than 28 years industry experience. She also served as Chief Audit Executive (CAE) for National Department of Justice from 1999 until 2004.

On acceptance of the award, Machaba said: “I am amazingly surprised and humbled. To AABLA, CNBC Africa and judges, thank you for believing in me and affording me the opportunity. To my PwC family, thank you for allowing me to live our purpose of building trust in society, solving important societal problems and values, and continuing to be myself. This award enables me to be a leader who is inspirational, consistent, resilient, transparent, authentic, accountable and humble. I don’t take it for granted, I commit to keep reimagining the possible and inspire others.”

3.       All Africa Business Leader of the Year

Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO of Exxaro, was a fellow award-winner, taking the All Africa Business Leader of the Year title for his work in the mining, finance and banking industries. He started as a software engineer in finance, and worked his way up to his current position, becoming a founding member of Eyesizwe Coal and sitting on the Exxaro Resources board, the Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) board and the Institute for Committed Action board.

“I’m breathless and very much honoured by this kind and precious gesture,” said Mgojo on receiving the award. “It comes at a time when, in eight weeks, I’ll be retiring as CEO of Exxaro, so it’s the best gift I could have been awarded.”

Speaking about the company’s history and goals, he said: “We look into the future, because it’s about empowering lives. In our purpose statement we are saying we want to power better lives in Africa and beyond…I want to thank those men and women who have taken the time, effort and challenge to realise this vision. But also, the workforce, who have made this a reality.”

4.       All Africa Company of the Year

MTN Group, thepan-African mobile operator, was the All Africa Company of the Year winner for its provision of a diverse range of voice, data, fintech, digital, enterprise, wholesale, and API services to more than 276.3 million customers in 19 markets. MTN Group Limited is a publicly owned entity and, at the end of 2021 its market capitalisation was R321.7 billion (US$20 billion).

Accepting the award on the evening was Nompilo Morafo, Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer at MTN, who said: “It’s a tremendous honour to accept the African Company of the Year award on behalf of everyone at MTN Group. We believe that the telecommunications industry is a critical pillar of economic growth on the continent and in line with this, last year we launched our Ambition 2025 strategy with the strategic intent of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress. This strategy is anchored on building the largest and most valuable business platform with a clear focus on Africa.”

The 2022 All Africa Business Leaders Awards are proudly presented in partnership with CNBC Africa, FORBES AFRICA, SNG Grant Thornton, Henley Business School Africa, the Gautrain and Olivia Jones Communications.

CNBC Africa also hosted its 15th annual Corporate Golf Challenge at the Lost City Golf Course as part of the group’s fundraising efforts for the Africa Business News (ABN) Education Trust. This helps young people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds pursue an education in commerce, media, or business journalism.