Segun Ogunsanya, outgoing CEO of Airtel Africa Group, has been named winner of the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in the 14th African Business Leadership Awards (ABLA) 2024.

The awards are a flagship annual recognition event run by Africa Leadership Magazine (ALM), aimed at honoring exceptional corporate practice and outstanding achievers in Africa’s business landscape and private sector.

The awards showcase Africa’s businesses and leaders, celebrating exemplary business leadership on the continent. Mr. Ogunsanya will be presented with his Lifetime Achievement Award at a special ceremony during the 9th ALM Africa Summit, taking place from 17-18 July 2024 at the UK House of Lords.

The theme of this year’s Summit is ‘Africa Unleashed: Navigating Disruptions, Enhancing Opportunities’, with policymakers, private sector leaders, civil society leaders, thought leaders and stakeholders from across Africa and the rest of the world expected to attend. Mr. Ogunsanya’s landmark contributions towards advancing Africa’s socio-economic growth and development include his 12-year career at Airtel Africa.

He ran the Nigeria operations of the telecommunications and mobile money company for nine years before his appointment as CEO of the Group in 2021. With deep knowledge of the continent, coupled with extensive distribution experience, he led the company in maintaining double-digit revenue growth over many quarters and in delivering new, innovative products to its customers across Africa.

Segun has more than 35 years’ business management experience in banking, consumer goods and telecoms. Before joining Airtel Africa in 2012, he held leadership roles at Coca-Cola Bottling operations in Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya (as MD and CEO). Segun has also been the Managing Director of Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (Coca Cola Hellenic owned) and Group head of retail banking operations at Ecobank Transnational Inc, covering 28 countries in Africa. He is an electronics engineer and a chartered accountant.

Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa, said: “I am truly humbled by this recognition alongside such other distinguished Africans. It truly belongs to all those who have been on the journey with me at various times. My career has been focused on serving the needs of people across the continent, most recently through enhanced digital and financial inclusion. I remain determined to help make Africa a better place for its people, and hope my journey inspires the next generation of Africa’s business leaders.”

Mr. Ogunsanya will retire from Airtel Africa on 1 July 2024, and will become the Airtel Africa Charitable Foundation’s inaugural Chair, building on the work undertaken during his time as CEO, including the launch of the Company’s first sustainability strategy.

Segun has been my boss for the last 13 years. At the right moment, I will pen a personal tribute to him for his principled leadership, his confidence in my professional ability and his role as a mentor and pathfinder to many Nigerians and Africans of multiple nationalities and ethnicities.

By the way, today’s Segun’s birthday. Please join me in wishing him happy birthday while celebrating his well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.

Emeka Oparah is Vice-President, Corporate Communications, Airtel Africa. He wrote from London (June 4, 2024)


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