800 Africa CEOs hold confab in Abidjan amid tight security
Dangote, Otudeko, Zenith, GTB, Seplat eye continental awards
With more than 800 company executives in attendance, the Africa Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Forum — a yearly international conference dedicated to the development of the private sector on the continent — begins today in Abidjan, the capital city of Cote d’Ivoire.
Set up in partnership with the African Development Bank (ADB), the Forum is an event organised jointly by Groupe Jeune Afrique, publisher of Jeune Afrique and The Africa Report, and Rainbow Unlimited, a Swiss company specialising in organising economic promotion events.
The 2015 edition, which held in Geneva in March last year, played host to more than 800 African and international figures, including 500 chief executives from 43 African countries and 100 top-level speakers.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed, in a chat with The Guardian said the forum currently enjoys the status of being the foremost event on development issues in the African private sector. This year’s edition, according to him, holds even greater promise of further strengthening that status.
Meanwhile, for demonstrating commitment to and for playing a part in Africa’s growth over the last one year, two Nigerian entrepreneurs, Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and Chairman of the Honeywell Group, Oba Otudeko, have been listed among the top contenders for the coveted Africa CEO of the Year Award holding today (Monday, March 21, 2016).
Four Nigerian firms — Seplat Petroleum, Dangote Group, Guaranty Trust Bank and Zenith Bank — are also on the list of finalists for prizes in the six-category award session of the yearly conference, now in its fourth edition. The categories include African Company of the Year (where Nigeria’s Dangote Group and Seplat are listed), African Bank of the Year (with Zenith Bank among the eight finalists), Private Equity Investor of the Year, International Corporation of the Year, CEO of the Year (with Dangote and Otudeko among the eight finalists) and the Young CEO of the Year.
The six prizes will be announced this evening in the presence of Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank.
“There is heavy presence of armed security operatives in and around Abidjan just as participants, many of who arrived the city since Saturday and were quartered in various partner hotels, are being visibly protected,”an Ivoirien journalist covering the conference told The Guardian yesterday.