Serial digital entrepreneur and Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, has been honoured with the highly coveted Forbes Best of Africa Leading Tech Icon Award. Ekeh was conferred with the prestigious award on Friday, August 6, 2021.
The well-deserved accolade marks the latest in a long list of credible local and international awards and recognitions received by Ekeh for his over three decades of leadership and pioneering entrepreneurship in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space in Africa, as well as his many enduring philanthropic and humanitarian legacies.
The Zinox boss was singled out for founding the most integrated ICT group in Africa with influence in four continents. He was also honoured for pioneering e-Commerce, Desktop Publishing and Computer Graphics, Wireless Cloud and WiMAX, the first locally assembled and internationally certified computer brand – Zinox, digital dispensing pumps for fuel and gas stations as well as the biometric revolution for elections, among others in Africa.
Leo Stan Ekeh, who has earned over 60 international and local awards over many years of incisive entrepreneurship, was equally singled out and honoured by President Olusegun Obasanjo on the occasion of Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary on October 1st, 2001 with an ICON OF HOPE award as a pride to modern Nigeria and as a model for Nigerian youths.
Again, President Obasanjo honoured him with another national award – the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in 2003. A Fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society, the umbrella body of all computer associations in Nigeria, he was also awarded the pioneer ICT Personality of the Year by this professional body.
In November 2019, Ekeh was honoured by President Muhammadu Buhari with the National Productivity Order of Merit award for his sustained leadership in the area of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). With over four Doctorate Degrees (Honorary) and fifteen fellowships from recognized institutions and as a former global advisor to Microsoft, the leadership of Forbes praised his outstanding entrepreneurship.
In his acceptance speech, Ekeh expressed gratitude to Forbes and the Foreign Investment Network (FIN) for the recognition. Also, he reaffirmed his often-stated interest in technology as a game-changer, while also expressing his passion for humanity which he revealed is driven by access to education and quality health.
Further, he appreciated Nigerians and their leadership and Africans by extension for trusting him and his colleagues’ ingenuity across his technology group.
Ekeh said: ‘‘The 21st Century is one in which the impact of technology in the affairs of nations and in the lives of individuals cannot be wished away. Indeed, the world is currently a technology-mediated global village, with technology remaining, as I have often stated in some of my public talks, arguably the only profession in the world today that can transform an indigent child or youth into the richest person in the world.
‘‘With the Zinox Group, which includes over eight successful entities across verticals in the technology space, we have been able to bring to reality the power of technology in transforming lives, ushering many into the digital ecosystem and solving complex problems.
‘‘I must also not fail to mention the Konga Group, an e-commerce platform which was acquired by Zinox in 2018 and which today, has grown into the leading player on the African continent. Through these companies, we have provided meaningful direct employment opportunities for over 5000 people and over 250,000 indirect employment opportunities for individuals, merchants and other beneficiaries.
‘‘If I had not made the decision to return to my first love – technology – after my educational sojourn abroad, I doubt I would have been able to contribute my little quota in reshaping the lives of thousands of African youths as we have done today,’’ he enthused.
The Forbes Best of Africa Awards 2021 aims to recognize and reward change-makers, individuals and organizations that have made a remarkable difference on the African continent, improving the lives of millions across the region in the areas of entrepreneurship, technology, leadership, vision and influence despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion was the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and the King of Lesotho Kingdom, His Majesty Letsie III David Mohato Seeiso, among others.
Other awardees include renowned cleric and Metropolitan Senior Pastor of House on the Rock, Pastor Paul Adefarasin; Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Integrated Solutions Ltd (OIS), Mahmood Ahmadu; Ghanaian industrialist and philanthropist, Nana Kwame Bediako; South African businesswoman and philanthropist, Wendy Ackerman; Lesotho’s leading business magnate, Sam Matekane; Zimbabwean businessman, Ken Sharpe; Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure, Clever Gatete; Zambian-based business magnate, Dr. Rajan Mahtani and Group Chairman, FIN, Mrs. Olayinka Fayomi.