The African of the Year award project was initiated in 2008 to recognise and reward, annually, an exemplary African who has made extra-ordinary contribution to human development in any part of the continent, and in any sphere of human endeavor. Africans who have distinguished themselves in their various walks of life or do charity projects in their immediate communities that are of positive impact to the people.

Candidates for the award are shortlisted from a pool of nominees whose profiles and records of contribution have gone through a rigorous process of screening.

The award consists of three components, namely, a permanent plaque, a certificate of merit and a cash reward in aid of the awardee or his/her chosen charity project. It is promoted by Daily Trust, one of Nigeria's leading independent newspaper, in fulfillment of the newspaper’s commitment to African unity and sustainable development across the continent.

The Award covers the accomplishments recorded by the nominees from 1st October of the previous year up until 30 September, of the following year.

The award winner is selected by a six-member pan-African committee chaired by His Excellency, Mr. Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and winner of Mo Ibrahim Prize for Leadership. He recently succeeded the pioneer chairman of the prize committee, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, former Prime Minister of Tanzania and ex-scribe of the OAU (African Union).

Other members of the Advisory Board/Prize Committee are: Ambassador Ms. Mona Omar (North Africa), Mr. Pastor Rigobert BINANI BIHUZO (Central Africa), Ms. Gwen Lister (Southern Africa) and Mr. Amadou Mahtar Ba (West Africa). Kabiru Yusuf, Chairman of Daily Trust, represents our company.

The maiden award for 2008 was given to a Congolese gynaecologist and humanitarian surgeon, Dr. Denis Mukwege. This was in recognition of his risky advocacy against the prevalent use of mass rape as a weapon of war in Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC. Dr. Mukwege also gave free reconstructive gynaecological surgeries to rape victims in the war-torn central African country.

It will interest you to know that 10 years after winning our award, Dr. Mukwege won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. Earlier in 2014, he won the “Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought”, the highest humanitarian award conferred by the European Union Parliament.

Subsequent editions of the award have been won by the former Director of UN Millennium Office for Africa, late Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem (2009), the Chief Executive of the LOC for the 19th FIFA/Coca Cola World Cup hosted by South Africa, Mr. Danny Jordaan (2010), the former Judge and Head of Constitutional Court of Niger, Mrs. Fatima Bazeye (2011), and the former President of South Africa, Mr. Thabo Mbeki (2012).

Former President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Donald Kaberuka won in 2013. The 2015 award was won by a Beninois social service activist, Mr. Ahongbonon Gregoire for his efforts in rehabilitating and reintegrating multitude of persons with mental disorders in parts of Africa.

Mutaru Mumuni Muqthar, won the African of the Year award in (2017). He was inspired to fight terrorism after his family fell victims of the deadly 1994 Nanumba-Konkomba conflict in Northern Ghana in which about 1,000 people were killed and tens of thousands were internally displaced. Muqthar now works across West Africa with a team of professionals he engages to de-radicalized vulnerable youths whom he helps to reintegrate into the society, school or work.

Last year’s award was won by Musu Bakoto Sawo, a Gambian changemaker and tireless women rights advocate, for her continuous commitment to ending violence against girls and women, including child marriage and female genital mutilation.