Equity Group CEO and Managing Director, Dr James Mwangi, has been recognized and awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the All-Africa Business Leaders Awards held at Sun City, South Africa, by the Africa Business News, the owners of CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa.
The All-Africa Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to individuals who have made remarkable impact on their industry, country and the continent over a period of a lifetime. The All-Africa Business Leaders Awards Judges identified a leader with exceptional character, someone who has contributed to business growth, education and has used his own family fortune to build one of the largest support programmes for educating orphans in Africa.
The award was presented to Dr Mwangi by the Deputy President of South Africa, His Excellency Paul Mashatile and Dr Rakesh Wahi, Co-Founder and Chairman of Africa Business News Group. Dr Mwangi was honoured for his vision, lifetime devotion and dedication to the progress of the African continent and its people, through the work of Equity Group and its impact on inspiring others to seek success by offering transformative opportunities for the empowerment of the people of Africa.
Dr Mwangi was the inaugural recipient of the Forbes Africa Person of the Year Award 11 years ago and is the champion of Equity Group’s twin engine of social and economic impact.
On Social Impact, Dr Mwangi is celebrated for the flagship Wings to Fly scholarship program under Education and Leadership Development that has seen nearly 60,000 academically gifted needy students receive comprehensive scholarships that cover school fees, uniforms, transport, pocket money and medical expenses.
Under this Pillar over 8,300 scholars have received paid internships with the Bank, and over 18,735 have proceeded to universities with 761 students benefiting from the global scholarship program that has seen at least 219 scholars admitted to Ivy League universities.
In his acceptance speech, Dr Mwangi associated his lifetime achievement as a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and leader to the influence of his upbringing, a mother’s inspiration and circumstances and situation.
Dr Mwangi recognized the role of the over 13,000 staff members of Equity Group, a passionate management team, a committed Board of Directors, shareholders, and a supportive customer base of more than 18 million members.
Dr Mwangi dedicated the Lifetime Achievement Award to all African mothers and women who, like his own mother nurture, inspire, mentor, influence, and shape children to respond and adapt to their circumstances, setting them up for a lifetime of contribution and impact.
Under the leadership of Dr Mwangi, Equity Group Foundation has established a medical franchise, Equity Afia Medical Centres, under which 81 facilities are run by Equity Leadership Program scholars who pursued medical degrees. The franchise currently attends to over 65,000 patients per month with over 1.5 million patients cumulatively attended to at the Equity Afia Medical centres so far.
Women have been supported under the Fanikisha program to capacitate and de-risk them.
Equity Group Foundation, under the Young Africa Works program has mobilized 539,241 Micro and Small enterprises (MSMEs) through loans or trainings which it has then funded to scale and establish businesses that have proceeded to employ over 1.3 million young people during the last 4 years. Women have been supported under the Fanikisha program to capacitate and de-risk them, enabling them to access affordable credit facilities including through Pamoja or Group Banking.
Equity Group has uniquely distinguished itself by supporting agriculture with 14% of its entire loan book being in the Agriculture and Food production sectors. Equity Group Foundation, has, in its Food and Agriculture pillar trained 3.87 million farmers, transforming them from peasant farming to agro-businesses and has supported 251,360 MSMEs in Agriculture to scale their capacity and fuel their growth through access to finance and capacity building.
Dr. Mwangi is celebrated for making a family contribution of Ksh. 450 million of his family’s savings towards COVID-19 mitigation efforts in Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR), Rwanda and Uganda. He served as the Chairman of the Health Committee of the Kenya COVID-19 Fund Board where he oversaw the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to 116 public and faith-based hospitals in all 47 counties of Kenya for a period of 3 years.
At operational level Equity Group has focused on converting and transforming schools, hospitals, and universities from using wood fuel driven kitchens to transition to LPG. Equity Group has distributed Ksh. 1.9 billion worth of clean energy, lighting and cooking devices reaching over 386,120 households.
During his term of service, Equity has grown from position 66 out of 66 in Kenya to become a systemic financial services Group in East and Central Africa and is among the top 3 banks in 5 countries – Kenya, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan – out of the six countries in which it has been licensed to operate in.
Dr Mwangi’s contribution to knowledge has been recorded in over 40 case studies by Business schools including Harvard, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Columbia, IESE, Cornell, Lagos, and Strathmore Business Schools.