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Khalid Abdulla, African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited’s (AEEI) Group Chief Executive Officer 

African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited’s (AEEI) Group Chief Executive Officer Khalid Abdulla, was named the Business Leader of the Year – Southern Africa 2017 at the 7th All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in partnership with CNBC Africa. The Awards held in Johannesburg last night, gave the nod to Abdulla for his ‘willingness to serve and contribute to his community making him a leader in changing social and business landscape’.

The AABLA, in partnership with CNBC Africa, distinguishes leaders who have contributed and shaped the economies in Africa and who are the visionaries behind today’s outstanding businesses, as well as honouring business excellence across the African continent.

The AABLA also recognises bold leaders and change-makers of the East, West and Southern Africa and hosts three regional events in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, before moving on to the AABLA Finale, which will be hosted in South Africa in November.

After a rigorous judging process and scrutinizing of several applications, the panel and awards secretariat selected Khalid Abdulla, AEEI Group Chief Executive Officer as the winner, in the category of Business Leader of the Year Award in the Southern Africa region.

Of being acknowledged for his contributions to business and community, Abdulla said, “I am truly humbled yet extremely excited at receiving this particular award.  Being judged against the formidable calibre of my fellow finalists – who are all champions for the work they are doing, not only in their respective businesses, but in standing as strong moral compasses for all South Africans in how we should all do business – is a deep honour and one I shall uphold, as we continue to walk through these turbulent economic times.

“Gerrie Fourie, CEO of Capitec Bank Holdings and Jabulane Mabuza, Chairman of Telkom SA – let us celebrate together – for we are all winners here tonight, as we are all driving change in Africa for the betterment of Africans.”

Spokesperson for the AABLA said, “We received a high volume of qualifying entries, making the final selection extremely challenging.”

The secret to the AABLA success is its stringent judging process. The Judges select finalists from a qualified short-list who will go on to the prestigious awards ceremonies hosted in East, West and Southern Africa, where they will have an opportunity to take the coveted title in their respective category.

“Leadership is often a lonely path, but in actual fact, this award is really testament to the whole of AEEI, and its commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment and enterprise development that allows us to deliver strong financial performance with a holistic and sustainable business model, and which is now ready to expand into Africa.”

“The sports field is where I learnt the power of a people-centric approach and the benefits of strong leadership. A hands-on, project management style and leading by example, is how I personally approach leadership. Teamwork in business is what will define a good or great company and determine the long-term economic sustainability of our country too,” says Abdulla. 

Winners of these awards exemplify the best in African Leadership.

They epitomise the core values of a successful leader – strength, innovation, ingenuity, knowledge and foresight – values that are imperative to carving out powerful businesses in a Pan-African and Global economy.

Abdulla is also the recent recipient of the SA’s Future Maker of the Year 2017: Driver for Change; the Top most empowered business leader of the year 2017 by the Oliver Empowerment Awards; and also, one of the best CEOs in the country, ranked amongst the 10 best executives in 2015 by the Financial Mail. Abdulla was also honoured as a recipient of the prestigious Black Business Executive Circle (BBEC) / Absa Bank Kaelo Award in 2010.

“Despite all the negative news in the country at the moment, including the ratings downgrade, there is still much to be positive about in Southern Africa. As business leaders, we need to keep hope alive for our citizens so that together, we can work towards building the nation on a sustainable basis beyond 2030.”

Previous winners in this category include Adrian Gore, Discovery CEO, Dr Johan van Zyl, Sanlam South Africa Chairman, Edward Kieswetter, Alexander Forbes CEO and Sisa Ngebulana, Billion Group CEO.

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