KENYA – Some of the most important founders, managers, academicians, government and NGO shapers and other change makers in Africa’s food, beverage, milling and hospitality industry were feted at the Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards ceremony that was held on September 14, 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Made up of a mix of veterans from across Eastern, Southern and Central Africa, the Awards saw a number of industry leaders receive the coveted Africa Food Industry Champion Award, the highest accolade in the food industry in Africa.

This Award, which is similar to a Lifetime Achievement Award, and is bestowed upon individuals who have through their dedication, focus and drive made the biggest impact on the food industry in Africa.

New categories were added during this year’s Awards process, expanding the scope of the individual honorary Awards winners at the ceremony.

They include the Most Influential Food Industry Leader and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, which celebrate managers in the food industry who have made a mark as mentors and managers, and young founders below 40 whose food companies have made noticeable difference in the growth of the industry in Africa, respectively.

Top investors and managers get appreciated

In the Africa Food Industry Champion Award category, which is the top most Award category at the Awards, a number of investors, Managing Directors and CEOs were bestowed with the Award, which is equivalent to a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“These Africa Food Industry Champion Award winners have one thing in common: deep passion that has driven them to be the very best in their industry sectors and in the region. The companies they founded or manage have some of the most noticeable impact on the economy and the food industry. They are leaders of the pack in many ways and they keep shining the light into the future of the food industry in Africa,” says Francis Juma, the team leader at FoodWorld Media, the organisers of the Awards.

At this year’s ceremony, Kevin Ashley, the founder of Java House Group, Khalid Mohammed, the founder and Group Chairman of Trade Kings Group, Dr. Carl Irwin, the former co-CEO of Zambeef Products PLC, Mustafa Awel, the MD of Mullege PLC and Andrew Rugasira, the founder of Good African Coffee were feted with the Award.

Others were Jane Karuku, the MD of Kenya Breweries Ltd, Lucy Karuga, the founder of Eldoville Dairy, Dipam Shah, the CEO of Glacier Products Ltd, Dr. Mohammed el Sahili, the CEO of Fairy Botling Ltd, OP Narang, the former Resident Director of Agrochemical and Food Company Ltd and Gavin Bell, the founder of Kengeles Restaurants.

In the newly introduced Most Influential Food Industry Leader category, which celebrates individuals who have over the years offered leadership as managers in the food industry, with significant impact on the growth of the organisations they work in and the greater industry, seven individuals were given the prestigious Awards of appreciation.

They included Davis Heath, the Manufacturing Director of Brookside Dairy Ltd, Gaudence Mukolwe, the former Brewing Manager at Tanzania Breweries Ltd, Grace Ngari, who is the MD of Syncom Consultancy an former Regional QA Manager at Nestle EAR, Professor Mbugua, who was a lecturer at the Food Science Department at the University of Nairobi.

Other winners were Caroline Outa, the Head of KEBS Certification, Lawrence Lusiola, a pioneer in the training and certification systems including quality and food safety systems in the region and previously working at SGS Kenya and Dr. Jan Low, the Principal Researcher at the International Potato Center in Nairobi, Kenya.

Young entrepreneurs receive accolades

To broaden the individual awards categories and to provide a platform to appreciate young entrepreneurs in the food industry, the Young Entrepreneur of the Year category was added at this year’s Awards process.

The category is made up of individuals under 40 who have made significant strides as investors in the industry,

The winners of the Young Entrepreneur of the Year included Elizabeth Gikebe, the founder of Mhogo Foods, Martin Ssali of Smart Foods Uganda, Senai Wolderufael of Feed Green Exports in Ethiopia and Eric Muthomi, the founder of Stawi Foods Ltd.

About the Awards
The Awards ceremony, which are Africa’s most prestigious food industry awards, celebrate some of the most outstanding people, new products and company initiatives in the food, beverage and milling industry in Africa.

Now in its second year, the Awards ceremony attracted the who-is-who in the food manufacturing, retail and foodservice industry in the region, with over 400 people attending the event, which took place from 14.00 hours till late.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives sent its Acting Director of Agroprocessing, Mr. Simon Atebe, who was the Chief Guest, and the Acting Managing Director of the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Mr. Benard Nguyo, also made an appearance as one of the main guests.

Other notable attendees included the Barclays Kenya CEO, Mr. Jeremy Awori, several Managing Directors and CEOs from the industry, government agencies, supplier companies and other stakeholders.

This year’s Awards had a larger and expanded category profile, with new categories (new plants, new products, sustainability and training initiatives) added on top of the individual award categories from the 2017 edition of the Awards.

The next edition of the Africa Food Industry Excellence Awards ceremony will be held on July 12, 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Individuals and companies are encouraged to enter their applications for next year’s Awards process, which open on November 1, 2018.

More information about the Awards can be found on