By George Marenya
It is another Kenyan again! That must be how the world received the news of the latest coronation of Dr. James Mwangi, he of the Equity fame, as the 2020 Oslo Business for Peace Award recipient. This has been long in coming. It also goes a long way in helping deconstruct the true meaning of peace beyond the absence of wars and bullets.
True freedom is only meaningful when it includes freedom from hunger.This way, champions of economic freedom like Dr.James Mwangi are naturally peace heroes of note. The stated objectives of the Oslo Business for Peace Award are to honour those who ethically create economic and societal value from outstanding business with high impact on the community.
The award gives a platform for leaders to share their business wisdom with the world. It enables the likes of Dr. James Mwangi and their initiatives (such as the Equity Group) to be used in fostering trust, stability and peace.
Per L. Saxegaard, the founder of the award noted how Dr.Mwangi has managed to secure financial inclusion for millions across East and Central Africa. This way he birthed: “A social revolution by bringing banking services to people who previously had limited access to them.”
He has not only helped bolster Kenya’s Gross Domestic Product, but he has also emerged as a great entrepreneur and humanitarian. “The award committee sees him as a shining example of how business leaders can accelerate change and help solve the world’s problems,” said Saxegaard. Anyone who sets out to bring the bounty of economic goodies home must be seen for the hero that he or she is.
In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and all the gloomy news, we needed something like this to brighten up. We welcome the reassurance that our own trust in the Equity brand is not as a result of living in an eco-chamber. It is a confirmation that Kenya has now become a citadel of knowledge and wealth creation besides being the cradle of world beating athletes.
We know that for Dr.Mwangi, his success is always a responsibility and the sky remains the limit. Yet we are secure in the knowledge that for Equity Group as an innovation centre, the morning has just begun. It is not that long since Dr. Mwangi stated that his strategic objective in entering the Democratic Republic of Congo is to help bring peace to that troubled country.
It is noteworthy that when the Nobel Prize first came to Kenya, it was through Professor Wangari Mathai’s environmental initiatives. We had to learn fast to link environment to prosperity and peace. It should not be hard to see how economic security and peace are related.
The old adage, a hungry man is an angry man, will forever hold. From the household to the national and global level, economic well- being and peace are so intricately woven to escape our notice.
In fact, currently, the Kenyan Senate is stuck with a debate about sharing of revenue. It has been noted that if only there was more to share, the battle would not have been a life and death affair.
For his part, Dr. Mwangi dedicated this award to the hardworking Equity fraternity, the recipients of Equity wings to Fly scholarships and the ever resilient Kenyan entrepreneurs who continue to fight on even as we grapple with the never expected enemy; Covid 19. Congratulations, Dr. James Mwangi. You have done us proud.