Kenyan journalist scoops African Growth Story Award at Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism


Margaret Dawes (Sanlam Emerging Markets), Allan Odhiambo (Business Daily) and Desmond Smith (Sanlam Chairman)_LR

Mr Allan Odhiambo of Kenya’s Business Daily newspaper is the winner of the African Growth Story Award in the 2015 Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism. The announcement was made at the awards gala event in Johannesburg, South Africa, last night (Thursday, 09 June 2016).

Sponsored by leading Pan-African financial services provider, Sanlam, the annual Awards carry a total prize purse of more than KES 2 million (about USD 20 000) for the 12 categories. They have recognised and celebrated excellence in financial journalism since 1974.

In 2013, a new category, the African Growth Story, was introduced and is open to journalists who practice in Africa and whose work is published and/or broadcast on the continent. The Award is presented to the financial journalist whose entry highlights the continent’s economic awakening as well as the obstacles and challenges to growth in terms of investments, infrastructural development and economic progress.

The other categories are: Business/Companies; Economy; Financial Markets; and Consumer Financial Education. In addition, the judges also recognise the best performers in online, print, radio and television mediums across all five categories. The special awards include the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year as well as the Best Newcomer and the Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Congratulating all the winners, Sanlam’s Chief Executive: Brand, Mrs Yegs Ramiah said Sanlam was a proud sponsor and remained committed to the annual Awards.

“Well done to all the entrants and the winners, especially to Allan, who is the first winner from outside South Africa to win the African Growth Story award since the category was established in 2013. We are encouraged by the consistent and positive response to the Awards which were initiated as a platform to recognise and celebrate excellence in financial journalism across the continent.

“We believe this is important because there is seldom recognition of the critical role of financial journalists, not only as watchdogs but also as message carriers who ensure that various stakeholders are well informed. As a Pan-African brand and corporate citizen with a footprint in over 30 countries on the continent, we are committed to ensuring that these Awards keep growing and include more journalists practising and publishing or broadcasting in Africa,” Ramiah said.

Mr Peter Vundla, the convenor of the judging panel said of Odhiambo: “It was Allan’s take on the common challenges faced by both the Middle Eastern and African economies because of their dependence on commodities that set him apart from fellow contestants in the African Growth Story category. He demonstrated impressive research, insight and financial reporting skills. He has contributed to the impeccable quality of work submitted for the 2015 awards.”

Accepting his award from Mr Desmond Smith, the Chairman of Sanlam Limited, Odhiambo said: “I feel honoured after winning this Award and being able to tell the African Growth Story.  Africa is a work-in-progress and we have many lessons to learn from developed countries that set the benchmark for us.  I will definitely enter the Awards again next year and continue searching for more African growth stories as this is a great platform to recognise and reward the efforts of African journalists.”

The editor of South Africa’s weekly business magazine, Financial Mail, Mr Rob Rose, scooped the top accolade as the 2015 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year. Among his excellent submissions was his coverage of the list of South Africans with HSBC accounts as well as coverage of Professor Thomas Piketty’s visit to South Africa and his take on wealth tax as one of the possible solutions to address the country’s inequality challenge.

Forbes Africa magazine’s Ms Ancillar Mangena was named the Best Newcomer, the category won by another Business Daily journalist last year, Neville Otuki. Mangena won the Award for her outstanding pieces on whistle blowers and the risks they take and the business of churches across Africa.

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Salomon (Salie) de Swardt, the 1977 Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year and Nieman Fellow (1982) who served journalism for 37 years as a reporter, an editor and founding editor of Finansies & Tegniek. De Swardt took an executive management position as CEO of the Magazines division of Naspers before becoming the first Managing Director of Media24, which owns News24, among other titles. He retired in 2005 as CEO of Media24, a subsidiary of the listed Naspers.

Commenting on the calibre of the 2015 entries and winners, Vundla said: “The entries received for the 2015 Awards were of a very high standard and impressed the judging panel, showing in-depth subject understanding, journalistic skill and integrity. Each entrant can be proud of the work they have done over the last year and we congratulate all the deserving winners.”

The full list of the 2015 winners is as follows:

·         Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year: Mr Rob Rose, Financial Mail

·         Best Newcomer: Ms Ancillar Mangena, Forbes Africa Magazine

·         Lifetime Achievement: Mr Salie de Swardt

·         Business/Companies: Mr Rob Rose, Financial Mail

·         Economy: Mr Rob Rose, Financial Mail

·         Financial Markets: Mr Rob Rose, Financial Mail

·         Consumer Financial Education: Ms Maya Fisher-French, MayaonMoney.co.za, City Press and Fin24.com

·         African Growth Story: Mr Allan Odhiambo, Business Daily (Kenya)

·         Radio Financial Journalist of the Year: Mr Bruce Whitfield, 702/Cape Talk

·         Television Financial Journalist of the Year: Ms Joy Summers, M-Net/Carte Blanche

·         Print Financial Journalist of the Year: Ms Carol Paton, Business Day and Financial Mail

·         Online Financial Journalist of the Year: Mr Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb.co.za

The judging panel, convened by Vundla, included retired editor Mr Charles Naudé; the editor of  The Conversation Africa, Ms Caroline Southey; adjunct professor of journalism at the  University of the Witwatersrand, Prof Franz Krüger; CEO of Tangaza Africa Media, Prof Nixon Kariithi; chairperson of Kagiso Media, Ms Maud Motanyane; independent economist, Mr Ulrich Joubert; and the deputy editor of The Conversation Africa, Mr Jabulani Sikhakhane.

For more information click http://bit.ly/SFJOY for the dedicated Awards website which provides full details about the Awards and 2015 winners.


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