THE Ernst & Young has picked the Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer, Dr James Mwangi as the 2012 World Entrepreneur of the Year from among the 59 finalists shortlisted for the title across 51 countries.
According to a press statement issued in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday, said that Dr Mwangi becomes the first business leader from Sub-Saharan Africa to win such a prestigious award. "He emerged among the finalists who were inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame and the World Entrepreneurship Academy," stated the statement.
The statement further said that under his leadership, Dr Mwangi has led the bank from a technically insolvent building society with an asset base of 28 million Kenyan shillings (about 504m/-) in 1993, to become a leading all inclusive commercial bank with an asset base of over 220 billion Kenyan Shilling (about 4bn/-). The bank is also listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).
The statement said that since listing in 2006, Equity Bank's shareholder value has grown 900 per cent, creating immense wealth for shareholders. "From a customer base of 27,000 in 1993, the bank is now home to nearly 8 million accounts, which represents nearly 50 per cent of all bank accounts in Kenya and is the largest bank by customer base in Africa with a focus at the base of the pyramid," the statement further said.
Also returns have grown from a loss of 5 million Kenyan shilling (about 90m/-) in 1993 to a 12.8 billion Kenyan shillings in 2011 (230.4bn/-, making it one of the most profitable companies in East Africa with a compounded annual growth rate of 78 per cent.
"Not only that James has really transformed people's lives across Africa by offering them access to funding that they have never had before, but Equity Bank continues to grow quickly through a strong financial performance," said Mr Ruben Vardanian, President, Troika Dialog and Chair of the judging panel.
Similarly, Mr Jim Turley, Global Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, said: "Over the past 26 years, entrepreneurs have done more than any other group to stimulate innovation, job creation and prosperity during both periods of growth and in challenging economic conditions," he said, adding; "James epitomizes the vision and determination that set entrepreneurs apart and is very worthy of the title Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2012."