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 award include: Aliko Dangote (founder and president, Dangote Group), James Mwangi (CEO, 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 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 ABN Group managing director Roberta Naidoo.
The award ceremony was organised by the eventing arm of the ABN Group - ABN Productions on Thursday at the prestigious Porsche Centre in Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria.
Mwangi was credited for transforming 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 maximise their opportunities.
Mwangi has also 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.
Equity is Kenya's largest bank by deposits with over 8 million customers and with a footprint in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania.
The award was presented to him by Forbes Africa magazine managing editor Chris Bishop. In his acceptance speech, 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 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.