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Market Digest Nigeria

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Founder of Ecobank and Asky Airlines Gervais Djondo receives AfroChampions Lifetime Awards for his pan-African vision and contribution to the development of the continent

The AfroChampions Initiative, an innovative project designed to promote African private sector champions, has been officially launched in Bamako, Mali, at an inaugural dinner sponsored by the Organizing Committee of the Africa-France Summit for Partnership, Peace and Emergence, advisory firm Konfidants and ADS group. Partners of the initiative have honoured on that occasion Founder of Ecobank and Asky Airlines Gervais Koffi Djondo. Mr. Djondo received a special lifetime award for his remarkable contribution to economic exchanges within the continent.

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The dinner was organised under the patronage of President of Mali, His Excellency Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, represented by Mr. Mohamed Ali Ag Ibrahim, Minister for Industrial Development. The event was attended by representatives from the African private sector and international industry players who were welcomed by Mr. Konimba Sidibe, Minister for Investment Promotion and Private sector in Mali, and Mr. Abdoullah Coulibaly, President of the Organizing Committee of the Africa-France Summit.

We want them to think ‘pan-African’ from the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey
As a founding father of coprorate pan-Africanism, and a champion of Africa, Mr Djondo’s accomplishments remain an inspiring model for entrepreneurs all over the continent. To help pass his legacy on, Mr. Djondo is also the founding patron of the Djondo Fellowship, which will mentor the young entrepreneurs and small business to become AfroChampions. “Successes from elders can make young entrepreneurs even more audacious and creative. We want them to think ‘pan-African’ from the very beginning of their entrepreneurial journey”, explained Dr Edem Adzogenu, a member of executive committee of the AfroChampions Organization (http://AfroChampions.com). “Only this shift in mentalities can drive further economic integration in Africa”, he added.

To accelerate this process, the AfroChampions Initiative will deploy a set of strategic projects. These projects include for instance the creation of regional hubs for cooperation, or codifying standards of quality and excellence across the continent. On each of these work streams, the objective in order to move as efficiently as possible, is to bring together public and private decision-makers. “It is the private sector that creates growth and jobs. It is therefore up to policy-makers to encourage entrepreneurs and enable them to develop their potential”, said Founder and CEO of the ADS group Samba Bathily. “What we need is a critical mass of African entrepreneurs, able to create African multinationals. The wealth they will create will benefit the entire continent, not just their home countries. This is why we support this project.”

The AfroChampions Initiative and its partners Konfidants and ADS group have set up an ambitious roadmap for 2017, in order to bring onboard both African heads of state and investment promotion agencies. On the side lines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa end of January 2017 they will notably introduce the AfroChampions Hub project to support intra-Africa investments.

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