By Abdi Ali
Published July 19, 2016
A business journalist and presenter from Nigeria has beaten two rivals from Kenya to BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.
The winner, Didi Akinyelure, who beat Olive Burrows of Capital FM and Trevor Ombija of NTV, both of Kenya, produces and presents a business show for CNBC, which is watched across Africa. She has anchored CNBC Africa’s daily show, Open Exchange, from West Africa for more than three years.
Akinyelure, who is said to have begun her career in the financial sector before moving to journalism in 2011 and joining CNBC Africa in Lagos in 2013, is reported to be “passionate about social entrepreneurs and has covered several stories about those who are transforming the African business landscape.”
Apart from anchoring for prime time news Akinyelure has also reported hard-hitting business stories from across western Africa. She also created, produces and presents a weekly segment called ‘Entrepreneur of the Week’, which aims to inspire small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa.
The winner shall begin her three-month placement which “provides the opportunity to gain skills and experience by attending a course with BBC Academy, and working with teams across BBC News on TV, radio and online, reaching the BBC’s audiences of 348 million across the world each week” in September 2016.
“She will also have the opportunity to travel to a country in Africa, with a top BBC producer, to report on a story for a global audience,” A BBC International Publicity Press Statement says.
“I am overwhelmed and excited to win this prestigious award,” says Akinyelure. “I am honoured that BBC chose me out of hundreds of applicants. Komla Dumor was someone I admired. He told the African story with so much passion for the continent, giving a balanced view and inspiring so many. You could tell that he loved what he did every single day and, I hope with this opportunity, I can continue Komla’s great work.”
Didi Akinyelure is reported to have “impressed the judges with her enthusiasm and tenacity in getting to the heart of a story, and helping audiences make sense of some of Africa’s complex issues.”
Josephine Hazeley, Deputy Editor for BBC Africa, says, “We were looking for a journalist who has the passion, pride and eloquence that Komla Dumor possessed – someone who would be able to follow in his footsteps by telling compelling African stories. Didi particularly excels in telling business stories, which was an area Komla was also passionate about. Komla’s death was a huge loss to everyone at BBC, and especially the Focus on Africa team, so we’re really pleased to have found a worthy winner of the award that we established in his name.”
Nancy Kacungira, the Kenya-based Ugandan who won the inaugural BBC World News Komla Dumor Award in 2015, says, “The past year has been an incredible journey for me – from being told I’d won the award to training with BBC Academy; from learning from some of the world’s best journalists to working for the BBC. I’m sure Didi will find the experience exceptionally rewarding, and I hope we can both continue Komla’s great work.”
The judging panel included Anna Williams, Editor of BBC World News; Josephine Hazeley, Deputy Editor for BBC Africa, and Ory Okolloh, director of investments for Omidyar Network’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative in Africa.