US Business in Africa Awards Reach Climax

The African Centre for the Study of the United States (Johannesburg)

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The prestigious U.S. Business in Africa Awards (USBAA) is reaching its climax with 17 entrant companies having been shortlisted in the three categories of large, medium and small enterprises.

The inaugural awards ceremony is a mere month away, taking place on October 28, 2022, at the Hilton Hotel, in Sandton, Johannesburg. This initiative is being organized by the African Centre for the Study of the United States (ACSUS), at the University of the Witwatersrand in partnership with several partners.

The key goal of the USBAA is to “create a culture of celebrating good business citizenship and provide positive exposure for U.S. businesses’ contribution to Africa’s economic development by operating profitably,” according to ACSUS deputy-director, Dr Bob Wekesa. The initiative, he added, will also “change the narrative on doing business in Africa by offering an updated, more accurate picture of Africa, and providing U.S. businesses with information on the opportunities and accurate levels of risk”.

In the large enterprises category, the following companies have been shortlisted, in no particular order:

  • Coca-Cola Africa
  • Flutterwave Inc
  • FedEx Express
  • Kimberly-Clark of South Africa
  • Alistair Group
  • Discovery/ Vitality Global
  • Marriot
  • Massmart

In the medium enterprises size category, the five businesses have been shortlisted, also with no particular order:

  • Stardornndoc company
  • Honeywell
  • Acrow Corporation of America
  • NBA
  • Fayus Nigeria Limited

The small businesses category saw four companies being listed:

  • Ari Squires Brand Management Agency
  • Bise
  • Africa Fintech Summit LLC
  • Mioty Voajanahary

The award ceremony will be attended by some 350 guests drawn from business, government, diplomatic corps, academia, civil society and other sectors. “We expect high level guests from the United States and several African countries,” said Dr Wekesa.

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The awards ceremony will be followed by a conference on October 29, 2022, at the University of the Witwatersrand, during which panel discussions will include topics on U.S.-Africa business relations, trade, and investments. Featuring top-level industry, policy and industry speakers, the conference will share knowledge on lessons learned from the winning businesses.

The conference will produce and disseminate knowledge on lessons learned from the winning businesses. This will build a database on case studies of U.S. businesses doing business in Africa to inform academic and intellectual programmes.

“Casual evidence shows thousands of American corporations on the continent. Yet, there is no Africa-wide initiative focused on highlighting the impact of American businesses in Africa, nor any formal recognition of U.S. companies for their economic and social contributions,” says Dr Wekesa.

“It has been acknowledged that trade in goods and services between Africa and its foreign partners is a key ingredient for long-term and sustainable development of the continent. Many U.S. businesses of varying sizes in diverse sectors have invested substantially in African economies, thus enabling the continent to participate in the global economy. However, there is little in the way of structured, systematic, and rigorous bodies of information and knowledge on U.S. businesses with the highest and positively consequential impact on the development of African economies through trade and investment flows,” says Dr Mima S. Nedelcovych, who is co-chair of the USBAA Governing Board.

To register for the conference, please click here.

Three processes were followed to ensure an inclusive selection and vetting process. The first process began on June 14, 2022, with the self-nomination entry by businesses. This process closed on August 30, 2022, with several businesses having entered the competition.

A robust and rigorous judging instrument was followed, and clear and impartial principles were employed to ensure the highest level of integrity for the judging process, said Dr Wekesa.

The next stage of the process will entail the judging panel making decisions on three excelling businesses in the three categories of large, medium and small enterprises. There will be winners of gold, silver, and bronze in each category, thus nine winners in total. Finally, from the nine businesses, an overall platinum winner will be chosen.

In the post awards-event period, case studies will be produced on the winning businesses. The winning businesses will serve as U.S.-Africa corporate ambassadors for a yearlong duration until the next awards ceremony in October 2023.

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