Businessman and chairman of Sekunjalo Investment Holdings Dr Iqbal Survé was one of two Africa-based recipients to have received the prestigious International Friendship Award earlier this month at a ceremony held at the IESE Business School in Madrid, Spain. 

The award is presented to foreign experts from around the world who have made an outstanding contribution to the development of their own country, and to the rest of the world.   

Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain presented the award to Dr Survé in recognition of his efforts to foster Africa and world relations, focusing on the promotion of entrepreneurship, communications, social commitment and his efforts to end prejudice. 

Dr Survé and Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, are the first Africa-based recipients of this award.   

The award initially focused on rewarding individuals who worked towards fostering cooperation, peace and development between East and West. However, now in its third year the award has extended the scope of recipients and includes individuals from across the world who strive for friendships between countries, cultures and religions.

“It was quite nice to understand the meaning of the IFA award, how important it is and how it is regarded in the international community. But fundamentally it’s about how you use your personal situation, your resources and your networks to foster a greater understanding between people,” said Dr Survé.


The winners are chosen based on two major criteria: the magnitude of value created globally and their world class governance and reputation. 

Dr Survé said his recognition for the award could be attributed to his deep respect for people. “I’d like to think that, consistent with my own life, from the time that I was a young student to the time that I was a social activist, to the time that I was a young medical doctor, to eventually becoming a businessman and someone involved in philanthropy, there was one constant: a deep respect for people. One should always respect the dignity for every single person.”


Dr Survé was honoured to have received the award and he made it clear that the award paid homage to the collective effort that everyone made to try and create a better world. “This journey is not a straight line. It is a very bumpy journey to stand up for your value systems, to believe strongly in non-racialism, anti-prejudice, respect for religion, culture, gender and opinion,” he said.  

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