Rwanda was over the weekend recognised for sustained improvement in investment climate during the African Business Awards at Grosvenor House in London, the United Kingdom.
The annual event, which is the fifth of its kind, celebrates excellence and achievement in African business and attracts leading African business figures.
Rwanda was recognised for the short time it takes to register a business, and several reforms that have emerged over time that have a significant impact on doing business.
The Chairman of the Private Sector Federation (PSF), Faustin Mbundu, received the award on behalf of Rwanda. He was accompanied by James Gatera, the managing director of Bank of Kigali, who is also a member of the Commonwealth Business Council- one of the organisers of the awards ceremony.
"I was extremely happy. It is particularly pleasing that the recognition has come from an event organised specifically for African business," John Gara, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), told The New Times yesterday as he reacted to the news.
"We don't just talk but we walk the talk and RDB will continue to strive for the best investment climate in our country."
A high level audience of 300 guests that included BBC World News presenter Zeinab Badawi, Burundian minister of Trade, Zambian minister of Commerce, and Jean-Louis Ekra, President of the African Export-Import Bank.
Innoson, a small and medium enterprise founded by Nigerian entrepreneur Innocent Chukwuma, took the most coveted title of African Business of the Year. The new Award for Best Hospitality, Travel, and Tourism in Africa was won by Serena Hotels from Kenya.
The Nigerian conglomerate Dangote Group, whose recent expansion and production plans are currently being flagged in the news, won the Investor of the Year Award and received the trophy from Robert Sichinga, the Zambian Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry.
The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Manu Chandaria, who has been hailed as "one of Kenya's leading industrialists". Applauded by a standing ovation from the audience, he was specially credited for having built a world class conglomerate and set a benchmark for his peers and young entrepreneurs across the African continent to follow.
Omar BenYedder, Publisher of African Business magazine stated, "The awards were launched five years ago to reward not only successful businesses but those which had a positive impact on their communities and the country or region they operate in, what President Sata of Zambia called 'profit with a human face'. We also wanted to encourage sustainable and inclusive growth. And I feel that the winners tonight have certainly risen to the challenge and are fulfilling these objectives. We have rewarded true pioneers operating on the African continent and we hope they will act as a benchmark for others to follow suit."
In a heart-felt speech, Sir Alan Collins, Director General of the Commonwealth Business Council, emphasised that "Africa is open for business".
The African Business Awards are organised by African Business magazine and Commonwealth Business Council in partnership with BusinessinAfrica Events. A distinguished panel of judges selected winners in eight categories from a pool of nominees across the continent. The winners of the remaining categories were selected by the advisory board comprising of the editorial team of African Business magazine, and experts from the CBC.