Mara Phone CEO, SomaApps founder to be feted during Persons of the Year gala

Over 150 leading African business, political and diplomatic leaders are set to attend the 8th edition of the African Leadership magazine’s ‘Persons of the Year’ event and awards gala. The event with the theme: Africa for Africans – Exploring the Gains of a Connected Continent, will be hold on February 28 – 29, 2020, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

“This year, the event will focus on the following broad themes, – ‘Investments into Africa; jobs & wealth creation; promotion of sustainable peace and development; delivering of democratic values; & the promotion of Africa’s image globally,” stated Ken Giami, the magazine’s publisher. “The theme pretty much sums up some of the continent’s major challenges.”

The African Leadership magazine’s Persons of the Year, is a vote-based endorsement, reserved annually for the Africans who are contributing towards promoting the continent and positively altering her narrative. The event which is in its 8th year, has become a referendum of some sort by Africans on purposeful leadership in the continent. A shortlist of nominees are selected from results gathered via a Call for nomination – traditionally promoted via a paid online and offline campaigns across the continent, Europe, and the Americas. The call for nomination and subsequent selection of Africans with the largest number of entries in 7 categories, is followed by a poll on the magazine’s website and via its social media platforms – through which the winners emerge.

The keenly contested poll, across 7 different categories, attracted over 300,000 entries on the website; entries across social media platforms, and submissions via email. Winners shall be decorated and presented with the instruments of honour on February 28, 2020 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The winners were unveiled after the awards committee, working with the editorial team, concluded the collation of both online and offline votes and submissions from the over 1 million subscribers and readers of the publication.

Among this year’s winners are Ashish Thakkar, the CEO of Rwanda-based Mara Phone ( a smartphone designed and manufactured in Africa) and Isaya Yunge, the founder, SomaApps Technologies from Tanzania.

Below is the complete of the final winners:

African of the Year 2019:
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria – Winner

African Female Leader of the Year 2019:
Rawya Mansour, Founder, RAMSCO Company – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2019-Educational Development
Dr. Yusuf Karodia, Founder, Regent Business School and MANCOSA – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2019 – Employment Generation
Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Phone – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2019 – Political Leadership
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Egypt – Winner

ALM Person of the Year 2019 – Philanthropy & Charitable Contributions to Society
Femi Otedola, Founder, Femi Otedola Foundation – Winner

ALM Young Person of the Year 2019
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, Wizkid, Music Artist – Winner

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards, which has become the leading vote-based third-party endorsement in the continent, recorded an upsurge of over 45% votes from Africans within and the Diaspora this year.

In addition to the winners, a special ALM Commendation citation shall be presented to the most distinguished runners up, which includes:

African of the Year Commendation Award:
His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco

African Female Leader of the Year Commendation Award:
Helen Oritsejafor, MD/CEO, Eagle Heights Group, Nigeria

ALM Person of the Year -Educational Development Commendation Award
Afe Babalola, Founder Afe Bablola University Nigeria

ALM Person of the Year Employment Generation Commendation Award
Abdulsalmad Rabiu, CEO, BUA Group, Nigeria

ALM Person of the Year – Political Leadership Commendation Award
Mrs Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia

ALM Person of the Year – Philanthropy & Charitable Contributions to Society Commendation Award
Patrice Motsepe, Motesepe Foundation, South Africa

ALM Young Person of the Year Commendation Award
Isaya Yunge, Founder, SomaApps Technologies, Tanzania

The African Leadership magazine focuses on bringing the best of Africa to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.


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