Thank you to everyone who made our 35th Annual Awards Gala an overwhelming success

On September 24th, 2019, the Africa-America Institute hosted its 35th Annual Awards Gala, the largest showcase celebrating the success of African countries and the diaspora.

Held annually during the week of the United Nations General Assembly, AAI’s Annual Awards Gala is one of the most anticipated Africa-focused events in New York City. The Awards Gala brings together distinguished guests including African Heads of State and diplomats, international and senior U.S. government officials, business and civil society leaders, educators, journalists, philanthropists and other prominent figures who are working towards advancing economic and development progress in Africa.

Since its first Annual Awards Dinner in 1984, AAI has honored individuals who are working to fulfill AAI’s mission of increasing Africa’s human capacity for development and promoting engagement between the African continent and America

For more information please contact AAI Vice President and Chief Development Officer, Brian McGinley


Tel: +1 (212) 949 5666

One Grand Central Place | 60 E 42nd Street, Suite 1700 

New York, NY 10165



National Achievement Award

The People of the Republic of Mozambique, accepted by President Filipe Nyusi (2018)

The People of the Republic of Ghana, accepted by President Nana Akufo-Addo (2017)

The People of the Republic of Liberia, accepted by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2012)

The People of the Republic of Sierra Leone, accepted by President Ernest Bai Koroma (2011)

The People of the Republic of Ghana, accepted by President John Evans Atta Mills (2009)

The People of the Republic of Tanzania, accepted by President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (2007)

The People of the Republic of South Africa, accepted by President Thabo Mbeki (2006)

The People of the Republic of Rwanda, accepted by President Paul Kagame (2005)

The People of the Republic of Namibia, accepted by President Sam Nujoma (2004)

The People of the Republic of Uganda, accepted by President Yoweri Museveni (2004)

The People of the Republic of Kenya, accepted by President Mwai Kibaki (2003)

The People of the Republic of Ghana, accepted by President John Agyekum Kufour(2001)

The People of the Republic of Senegal, accepted by President Abdoulaye Wade (2001)

The People of the Republic of Nigeria, accepted by President Olusegun Obasanjo (1999)

The People of the Republic of South Africa, accepted by President Thabo Mbeki (1999)

Presidential Leadership Award

His Excellency Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia (2015)

His Excellency Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire (AAI Alumni) (2014)

Her Excellency Joyce Banda, President of Malawi (2012)

His Excellency Festus Mogae, President of Botswana (2002)

His Excellency Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, President of South Africa (2000)

President William Clinton, President of The United States of America (1997)

The Hon. Nelson R. Mandela, Nobel Laureate and President of South Africa (1992)

His Excellency Frederick J. T. Chiluba, President of Zambia (1992)

His Excellency Nicéphore D. Soglo, President of Benin (1991)

His Excellency President Kenneth D. Kaunda, President of Zambia (1984)

Distinguished Alumni Award

H.E. Prof. Hassana Alidou, Ambassador to the U.S. and Canada, Embassy of the Republic of Niger (2018)

Dr. Austin Demby, Deputy Director, Office of Global Health Resources and Services Administration (2018)

Sunil Benimadhu, Cheif Executive, Stock Exchange of Mauritius (2016)

H.E. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia (2015)

Thandika Mkandawire, Chair of African Development at the London School of Economics (2014)

Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and CEO of Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (2013)

Nik Amarteifio, CEO and Chairman of Equatorial Cross Acquisitions Ltd. (2012)

Dr. Thelma Awori, Founding Chair and Co-President, Sirleaf Market Women’s Fund (2012)

Hon. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Republic of Sierra Leone (2011)

Seipati Tlaka, 2010 FIFA World Cup Provincial Coordinator, Senior General Manager, Office of the Premier, Limpopo Province. (2010)

Dr. Ousseina Alidou, Director, Centre for African Studies, Rutgers (2010)

Dinah Brandful, Asst. Commissioner & Head of Laboratory, Customs, Excise Preventive Service (2009)

Jorgina Manhengane, Operations Manager, PETROMOC SA (2008)

Gidion Kaino Mandesi, Executive Director, Disabled Organization for Legal Affairs and Social Economic Development (2007)

Professor Phumla Mtala, Director of Programmes, College of Economic & Management Sciences, University of South Africa (2006)

Jonathan Lifa, Regional Manager, Public Affairs, Chevron Corporation (2005)

Dr. Betty Bigombe, World Bank Consultant (2005)

Hon. Nahas Angula, Minister of Higher Education, Training and Employment Creation (2004)

Wangari M. Maathai, Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Greenbelt Movement (1992) 

Business Leadership Award

Jim Ovia, Founder of Zenith Bank Plc, and the Jim Ovia Foundation (2017)

Aliko Dangote, President/Chief Executive of the Dangote Group and Chairman of the Dangote Foundation (2016)

Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Wireless (2015)

Vivienne Yeda, Director-General of the East African Development Bank (2014)

Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings Limited and Founder, Tony O. Elumelu Foundation (2013)

Corporate Responsibility Award

Gilead Life Sciences, accepted by Gregg H. Alton, Interim Chief Executive Officer (2018)

IBM, accepted by Jen Crozier, VP of Global Citizenship Initiatives (2015)

General Electric, accepted by Jay Ireland, President and CEO of General Electric Africa

Chevron, accepted by Ali Moshiri, President of Chevron’s Africa and Latin America Exploration and Production Company. (2014)

FIFA World Cup South Africa Leadership Team, accepted by Dr. Irvin Khoza, Chairman of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Organizing Committee (2010)

The Limited Brands and Mast Industries, accepted by Jerry Stritzke, President & CEO of Mast Industries (2002)

Other Distinguished Awards

Entrepreneurial Impact Award: Studio 189, Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, Co-Founders Studio 189 (2018)

Leadership in African Media & Arts Award: Nicole Amarteifio, Creator, Director and Producer, An African City (2017)

Leadership and Innovation Award: Bozoma Saint-John, Chief Brand Officer, Uber (2017)

Regional Integration Award: The People of the Republic of Rwanda (2016)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Ali Moshiri, President, Chevron Africa and Latin America, Exploration and Production Company (2016)

Special Tribute and AAI U.S. Business Leader Award: Stephen Hayes, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Corporate Council on Africa (2016)

AAI Institutional Legacy Award: The African Union, accepted by Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chair, African Union Commission (2013)

AAI Award of Special Recognition for Promoting U.S. – Africa Trade Relations: Rosa M. Whitaker, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa (2001)

AAI Award for Excellence in Literature: China Achebe, Nigerian Poet and Author (2000)