Dr. James Mwangi, Group Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings Plc, the parent group of Uganda’s 8th largest bank by assets (UGX 2.627 trillion at end of 2019) Equity Bank, has won the prestigious 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award
The award, also described as the Nobel Prize for Business, is conferred annually to exceptional individuals who exemplify their outstanding `business worthy’ initiatives ethically by creating economic and societal value. It is the highest global distinction given to a business leader to celebrate their efforts at promoting peace and prosperity for the greater good of society through their everyday business activities.
“Dr. James Mwangi receives the Award for his business worthy values in championing financial inclusion for all in East and Central Africa. Dr. Mwangi helped achieve a social revolution by bringing banking services to people who previously had limited access to them, bolstering Kenya’s GDP. Dr. Mwangi is an exceptional entrepreneur and humanitarian. The Committee sees him as a shining example of how business leaders can accelerate change and help solve the world’s problems,” said Per Saxegaard, founder of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.
Honourees are chosen by a prestigious Award Committee consisting of past Nobel Prize winners in Peace and Economics. Current committee members are: Ouided Bouchamaoui (Tunisia), Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), Finn Kydland (Norway), and Eric Maskin (USA).
It was founded to provide the Honourees with a platform to share their business wisdom with the world and to help other leaders to understand how ethical and responsible business can contribute to building trust, stability and peace. It also seeks to promote the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8: helping to achieve sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth and decent work for all.
“In a world of various complexities such as globalization, polarization and environmental struggles, this year’s honourees have led by using business as a tool for change. They are role models to society and their peers, have earned stakeholders’ trust, and stand out as advocates,” says Per Saxegaard, founder of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.
“Through their business activities they have made substantial contributions towards reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8: helping to achieve sustained, sustainable and inclusive growth and decent work for all,” he added.
Dr Mwangi dedicated the award to staff and millions of Equity’s customers who he says have continuously inspired the Group.
“By walking with us, they have demonstrated resilience in pursuing their dreams and have emerged winners by improving their lives and livelihoods and bringing joy and happiness to their families and communities,” Dr Mwangi said.
He continued, “This award is a great inspiration to all Africans to believe in their dreams and to pursue them with dedication and conviction that together, we can change our continent within our lifetime. It’s my hope that this award will inspire the world to seize the COVID-19 moment as a call to build a more resilient global economy by putting purpose first and seeking business worthiness by being ethical and people centered for a more equitable and sustainable world.”
While congratulating Dr Mwangi on the win, John W.H Denton, The Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) wrote, “Your achievements are very inspiring, and your actions demonstrate a strong humanitarian value in doing business.”
Dr. Mwangi was chosen alongside two other global leaders, Joji Felicitas Pantoja, Co-founder of Coffee for Peace in the Philippines, and Marc Benioff in the US, Chair and CEO of Salesforce while the selection process was done by an independent Award Committee of Nobel Laureates in Peace and Economics.
Previous winners for the award include Richard Branson of the Virgin Group who is inspired by a love of humanity and a desire for superior solutions that has made him an effective and beneficial voice, in many fields; Marilyn Carlson Nelson of Carlson Companies; Paul Polman (formerly) of Unilever and Elon Musk Founder, CEO of Tesla and lead designer of SpaceX among others.
Dr. Mwangi is a celebrated African entrepreneur who has over the years been recognized locally and globally for his contribution to the socioeconomic transformation of the people of Africa. Last year he was named among the 2019 Bloomberg 50 most inspiring people in the world who defined 2019 in business, entertainment, finance, politics, science and technology.
In 2012 he was awarded as the 2012 Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year and the Financial Times named him as one of the top 50 thought leaders in emerging markets and among the top 20 most influential people in Africa in 2011. In 2007, the Equity Business model won him the Global Vision Award at the G8 Summit in Germany with the citation “a concept of the future that will shape the world economy”.
Equity Group growth
Under Dr Mwangi’s leadership, Equity Group Holdings Plc has grown to become a pan- African financial services holding company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Uganda Securities Exchange, and Rwanda Stock Exchange. The Group has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South Sudan, Tanzania, DRC, and a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia
Equity Group has an asset base of US$ 9 billion. With over 14 million customers, the Group is one of the biggest banks by customer base in the region. The Group has a footprint of 300 branches, 51,560 Agents and 31,265 Merchants and 623 ATMs. The Group is the largest bank in market capitalization in East and Central Africa. The Banker Top 1000 World Banks 2020 ranked Equity Bank 754 overall in its global ranking, 62nd in soundness (Capital Assets to Assets ratio), 55th in terms of Profits on Capital and 20th on Return on Assets.