Ethiopian Airlines crowned African Champion of the Year

Ethiopian Airlines has won the African Champion of the Year award at the Africa CEO Forum taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, this week.

The awards are in its 7th year and recognises the outstanding performance of business leaders, companies and investors in Africa.

According to a statement, the airline won for its intra-African partnerships, reaching 40 countries on the continent. The award was received by the airline's CEO Tewolde Gebremariam.

'We promise to keep up the good work'

"I would like to start by thanking everyone who has supported us after the tragic accident that happened to us two weeks ago. We promise to keep up the good work for the good of the African continent," Gebremariam said in his acceptance speech.

He was referring to the fatal crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, on its way from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to Nairobi in Kenya. This was the second fatal accident with this type of plane after a flight operated by Lion Air crashed into the Java sea shortly after take-off in October last year.

Bloomberg has since reported that Boeing plans to meet this week with customers and regulators to explain the measures it's taking to get its 737 Max back into service, after the aircraft was grounded following two fatal crashes in less than five months.

Impact

Engie Africa won the award for International Company of the Year. It runs a large solar energy plant in Kathu in the Northern Cape. The Kathu site covers approximately 4.5km², with 384 000 solar "mirrors".

The company was honoured for having three executive board members coming from Africa and having a significant impact on local communities in what the judges regard as one of the most important sectors for Africa's future.

The Engie Group is listed on Paris and Brussels stock exchanges and has been active in Africa for over 50 years, according to its website.

At the Africa CEO Forum award ceremony, Morocco's Mohamed el Kettani was honoured as the 2019 African CEO of the Year.

El Kettani has invested more than $1bn on the continent over the past seven years. He is behind the pan-African development of Morocco's Attijariwafa Bank.

Nigeria's logistics company, Kobo 360, was named The Disrupter of the Year for registering immediate and significant success in a sector where costs are higher in Africa than anywhere else in the world.

Access Bank, based in Nigeria, won the Gender Leader award. The bank has made what it calls the emancipation of women a key part of its strategy.

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