Dr. James Mwangi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Equity Bank in Kenya, was named the ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2012’ on Thursday 29 November, at the prestigious Porsche Centre in Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria. The ceremony was organised by the eventing arm of the ABN Group - ABN Productions.


In his welcome address, Frederic Van De Vyver, ABN Group Head of West Africa, stated that “Forbes is one of the world’s most well-known and respected business media brands, highlighting stories of entrepreneurship and exemplary leadership. With Forbes Africa, we have the continent’s first ever international business publication localised for the African executive.”


“The Person of The Year award recognises the individual that has made a significant impact in business through economic growth by creating employment and spearheading innovation in the continent, having the most influence on the events of the year gone by”, said the Managing Director of the ABN Group, Roberta Naidoo. The event debuted in 2011 with Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the recipient of the award for his stand against corruption. He also went on to grace the December/January cover of Forbes Africa Magazine.


Dr. James Mwangi, head Equity Bank Group, Kenya's largest bank by deposits with over 8 million customers and with a footprint in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania. He transformed a liquidated micro-finance institution into one of the largest and profitable commercial banks in Africa. He has also driven the bank's aim to transform the lives and livelihoods of people socially and economically by giving them access to modern, inclusive financial services that maximize their opportunities. Mwangi has been pivotal in the bank's investment in a robust IT platform that can accommodate 35 million accounts, as well as a level four data centre – the only one of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa – giving Equity a lead in creating synergy and convergence between banking telecommunication thus paving way for mobile phone banking 


The award was presented to him by Managing Editor of Forbes Africa magazine, Chris Bishop. In his acceptance speech Dr. James Mwangi asked that “all Africans should brace up and take up the challenge of improving Africa as our generation could go into history as those that changed the African continent for good.”


The nominees for the Person of The Year award were submitted by various industries as well as Forbes Africa readers who voted online. The hundreds of nominees were then shortlisted by Forbes Africa’s seasoned panellists.


The five finalists for the ‘Forbes Africa Person of The Year 2012’ include: Aliko Dangote (Founder and President, Dangote Group), James Mwangi (Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Equity Bank Group), Tony Elumelu (Founder and Chairperson, Heirs Holdings and Tony Elumelu Foundation), Joyce Banda (President of Malawi) and Steven Saad (Co-Founder, Aspen Pharmaceuticals).


The ceremony was sponsored by Diamond Bank Plc, Kedari Capital Limited, Nestoil Group Plc, Keystone Bank, africapractice, The Porsche Centre, Moët & Chandon and Uniglobal Togo

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