By Emmanuel Ntirenganya
Members of Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation will entre their businesses to vie for trophies in the first EABC Business Excellence Awards aimed at showcasing and celebrating businesses that have achieved excellence in improving lives of citizens and economy as well as integration of the East African Community.
The launch of the inaugural awards, which are one of the planned activities and events to mark the 20th Anniversary milestone of EABC, were announced by EABC Executive Director, Ms. Lilian Awinja during a media event held in Nairobi on Wednesday.
The Chairman of Private Sector Federation in Rwanda, Benjamin Gasamagera said that there are many achievements that have been realised in the private sector such as tourism and hospitality industry, textile industry and agro-processing which have an impact on economy and livelihood improvement.
He observed that Rwanda’s hospitality and tourism industry has been growing and the government in partnership with the private sector invested in a lot money to expand the sector, which has also given employment to citizens from other EAC member countries [apart from Rwanda] in line with promoting regional integration.
Though the Made-in-Rwanda programme is still in its early stages, Gasamagera said it is developing at a good pace, citing factories, especially in textile industry, “which are employing a thousand or two thousand of people, most of them being youth.”
“Textile industry employs many people, and facilitates the implementation of the ban imposed on imports of secondhand/used clothes, which will develop the garment industry and will have an impact on job creation.” – PSF’s Gasamagera.
In agro-processing, such as food and beverage production as well as tea factories, he underscored that there are entrepreneurs whose products are used in the region, and they create many jobs for citizens, pointing out that Rwanda is member of the EABC and that its private sector businesspeople have products and services that they can present [to contend] for such EABC awards.
Speaking at the same news conference in Nairobi, Ms. Awinja noted that the planned activities and events would provide an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to demonstrate the critical importance of private sector participation in the EAC integration process.
“We are looking for a business or a company that has made tremendous contribution to the East African Community integration, and also, the economy of the region through employment, through paying of taxes; they need to demonstrate how they have contributed to the regional integration process,” she said.
These awards, she observed, will be overseen by a judging panel made up with eminent personalities from across the region.
To ensure objectivity, transparency and accuracy in the judging process, Ms. Awinja emphasised that EABC will work with PriceWaterhouseCoopers as Audit partners whose mandate will be to review the end to end process of the Business Excellence Awards.
According to information from the EABC Secretariat, Awards will be organized across three categories. The first category will see one company feted as the Overall East African Regional Company.
A second category of awards will recognize business that have excelled in cross cutting categories, namely Manufacturing, Services, SME, Woman owned enterprise, Green Economy, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility.
A third category will award companies excelling in a specific industry and will reward outstanding companies across 7 industries, namely Financial Services, Transport and Logistics (including airline), Media, Tourism & Hospitality, Building & Construction and Extractive & Mining sector.
Entry process, and expected awards
As per the Secretariat, entries are open for companies established in any of the EAC Partner States with each company eligible to submit bids for at most three categories of the awards. This may include one entry for the overall award and any two entries for either the cross cutting category or the sector specific categories. The three entries may also be from the cross cutting and sector specific categories only.
Entries will be completed online through a dedicated portal (page) that will sit within the EABC website. Entrants will register in the portal, http://eabc-online.com/awards giving basic information about the individual/organization.
The entry process commenced on January 10, 2018 and will run until February 7, 2018. The judging and verification process will run from February 8 to March 7, 2018.
Each category will have three finalists, who will be announced on Monday 12th March, 2018. The ultimate winners will be feted at a Gala Dinner scheduled for 23rd March, 2018 at the Hotel Intercontinental, Nairobi.
Winners will receive a trophy and certificate of recognition in addition to earning the ultimate accolade of business excellence among peers in the East African region, according to the Secretariat.
The EAC – a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – is home to 150 million citizens, of which 22% is urban population. It has a land area of 1.82 million square kilometres and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$ 146 billion (as per EAC Statistics for 2016).
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