The All Africa Business Leaders Awards in partnership with CNBC Africa saw two South African business leaders, Melvyn Lubega and Daniel Ndima, honoured at the 11th All Africa Business Leaders Awards for their remarkable achievements and innovation.
The AABLA winners were announced, recognising exceptional individuals and companies across various categories. Ndima, who was raised and educated in Cape Town and is the founding CEO of CapeBio, was honoured as Innovator of the Year.
CapeBio is an innovative biotech firm that develops and manufactures life science research reagents (including regulatory approved test kits for diseases) used to diagnose various diseases. CapeBio was Africa’s first company to produce rapid Covid-19 test kits.
“Birthed out of the Cradle of Humankind (Africa), our company is a pioneering biotech firm that was established in South Africa as a research project from 2015. In 2018, I incorporated it as a 100% privately owned company, leveraging on support from E2 Investments – a subsidiary of Allan Gray Limited and later Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).”
He added that the company was launched to address the high importation dependency of diagnostic reagents by African countries, which makes access to health care in Africa unaffordable and at times prolonged efforts towards medical interventions due to long importation timelines – often leading to avoidable deaths.
When asked what kind of work is done by CapeBio, Ndima excitedly said they mine microbiome data from unique African microbial ecosystems in search of genetic material that codes for novel biomolecules (for example, enzymes, proteins and peptides).
He further explained: “We use our proprietary artificial intelligence platform to discover and develop these molecules with precision, acceleration and sureness before upstream/downstream developmental processes. With a very strong pipeline of innovative health technologies, the company is set to be among key players in the continent’s scientific-industrial revolution.”
Ndima said winning the Innovator of the Year award confirmed that CapeBio has long-term promise to play a pivotal role in the African health-care arena.
“It also confirms that our innovations, which are internationally recognised and applauded, are highly relevant in the current digital world we live in,” he proudly said.
Lebuga, executive chairperson of Baobab Group, said he was humbled to be named the 2023 All Africa Young Business Leader of the Year at the awards.
“At the Baobab Group, we don’t build and invest for outward appearances, but we do so to have a meaningful impact in the lives of the communities we serve, whether it’s our partners, our people or our customers. True to its roots, today Baobab Group builds and invests in businesses solving world’s most pressing problems, from education through to logistics.”
Deputy President Paul Mashatile delivered a keynote address at the awards ceremony and said despite the difficulties that we are experiencing as a nation and a continent, there are several things for which we ought to express gratitude and appreciation.
“These nominees are ordinary men and women that have taken extraordinary decisions in the face of challenges, adversity as well as opportunities to not only bring glory to their organisations and the people that they lead but also act as an inspiration for future business leaders.”