The Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) presented Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) (www.Afreximbank.com), with the 2021/22 Zik Prize in Leadership yesterday in Lagos.
Prof. Oramah is being recognized for his remarkable leadership of Africa’s premier multilateral financial institution to deliver on its mandate of boosting economic expansion in Africa by financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade and accelerating industrialization, according to a citation from Prof. Pat Utomi, Head of the PPRAC Zik Prize Selection Committee.
“A major proponent of the African-African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as the continent’s route to industrialization, he supported the creation of a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System, which the African Union accepted as the payment and settlement framework for the AfCFTA. Prof. Utomi went on, “He has also spearheaded the onboarding of 500 of the 600 regulated commercial banks on the continent into its Afreximbank Trade Finance Facility, putting it in the center of the largest bank messaging network on the continent.”
“It introduced, in year 2020, the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility, with disbursed funds at over US$7 billion, and, in year 2022, the Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Programme for Africa, a US$4 billion program of credit facilities to manage the impacts of the Ukraine crisis on African economies and businesses,” the speaker continued. “The scale of the Bank’s intervention in support of African countries during times of global crisis is unprecedented.”
Prof. Oramah spoke after accepting the medal and expressed how much he appreciated the honor given to him because he respected the ideals, philosophy, and principles of Dr. Azikiwe, who led an incredibly moral life.
“For the independence and political emancipation of our continent, Dr. Azikiwe and his colleagues fought tirelessly, with courage, intellect, and determination,” stated Prof. Oramah. “What they accomplished was only the start of the trip. Achieving economic independence will mark the real emancipation. As the head of one of the major organizations on the continent that was established to support development, I am aware of the responsibility I have.
Hakainde Hichilema, the president of Zambia, was also recognized at the event as the recipient of the Zik Prize for Political Leadership. Hajiya Aisha Atiku Baguda was given the Zik Prize in Humanitarian Leadership; Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman of SIFAX Group, was given the Zik Prize in Entrepreneurial Leadership; and Nigeria’s Governor Godwin Obaseki was given the Zik Prize in Good Governance.
Prominent figures such as Presidents Jerry Rawlings of Ghana, Nwalimu Julius Nyerere of Zambia, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, the former Secretary General of the OAU, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia, President Nelson Mandela of South Africa, and President Yoweri Muzeveni of Uganda have all been recipients in the past.
In honor of the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria, the Leadership Awards were established in 1995 to honor and promote exceptional leadership throughout Africa and the African Diaspora. In 2022, it was canceled in remembrance of Prince Emeka Obasi and Professor George Obiozor, two Advisory Board members who had passed away.