At this year’s All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in conjunction with CNBC Africa, and organized by the ABN Group, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was awarded the 3rd annual installment of the “African of the Year Award”. In recognition of her gallant fight for the equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine in Africa when it arrives.
Although for the first time the award ceremony was held virtually due to the pandemic, it did not stop organizers from awarding Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is now the first female to receive the ‘African of the Year’ award.
“Who was the continent’s most promising citizen, leading transformation and change on an international stage this year? Ngozi-Okonjo Iweala as the Chair of Gavi is leading the charge for the equitable distribution of the coveted Covid-19 vaccine in Africa when it arrives,” the ABN Group wrote.
Roberta Naicker, Managing Director of the ABN Group said
“This pandemic has pushed the world into uncharted territory and has forced many businesses to reassess almost every aspect of how they work. As a media company, we have been in a fortunate position to keep our audiences, both broadcast and digital, informed during these challenging times. Although we reminisce about the days of hosting live in-person events, by adapting and embracing technology, we have kept the African story alive and can continue giving recognition to the men and women who are transforming and developing Africa.”
Just like Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s President who was the first recipient of the African of the Year award in 2018, when the category was created, and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, who received the award category in 2019, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has graced the cover of Forbes Africa December 2020/January 2021 special issue.
Forbes Africa wrote in a Tweet on Wednesday
“the 2020#AfricanbOftheYear Award honoree is… Congratulations to Dr. @NoIweala! Board Chair @Gavi, Board Chair @ARCapacity, gracing the cover of @forbesAfrica.”
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – A role model of prominence
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, born in Nigeria is a globally-renowned economist and development expert who has served twice as Nigeria’s finance minister, becoming the first woman to do so.
She is currently chair of the Board of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance. GAVI “is an international organisation created in 2000 to improve access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.” Since its creation in 2000, GAVI has immunized 680 million children globally and saved 10 million lives.
In the past months, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was slated to be the Director-General of the World Trade Organization with overwhelming support from Japan, China, and the European Union, but not the United States. United States representative at WTO called for South Korea’s candidate, Yoo Myung-hee to remain a contender. Should Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had received support from the United States, she would have been the first African and woman to head and lead the institution. This would have also been a game-changer for Africa, as it plans to build the world’s biggest free trade area. Despite the glitch, she remains a formidable contender in the race.
Earlier in the year, She was also on FORBES AFRICA’s list of ‘Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women’
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has also held several vital positions. She has held the position of Managing Director of the World Bank and has been listed as one of Transparency International’s Anti-Corruption Fighters. She was nominated as one of Forbes’ Top 10 Most Influential Women in Africa and announced as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME magazine in 2014.
Dr. Ngozi made the following remarks via her official Twitter handle after accepting the award.
“Thrilled to be named @ @forbesafrica – CNBC 2020 African of the Year following in the footsteps of my great Brothers @PaulKagame and @akin_adesina. This award is for fellow Africans suffering from the health & economic impact of Covid19. The energy and resilience of Africans inspires me!”