“I am completely overwhelmed and excited to win this prestigious award."
Nigerian business journalist and presenter Didi Akinyelure has been awarded the second BBC World News Komla Dumor Award.
Akinyelure, who is passionate about telling African stories, began her career in the financial sector before moving to journalism in 2011. Today, she produces and presents a business show for CNBC, which is watched across Africa.
She is experienced in business reporting, having anchored CNBC Africa's daily show ‘Open Exchange’ from West Africa for over three years. She is passionate about social entrepreneurs and has covered several stories about those who are transforming the African business landscape.
Akinyelure joined CNBC Africa in Lagos in 2013, where she is an anchor for prime time news. She has 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.
Prior to beginning her journalism career in 2011, the Nigerian worked in asset management.
Joining the BBC News teams in London, Akinyelure will begin a three-month placement in September. This placement provides the opportunity to gain skills and experience by attending a course with the 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.
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.
“I am completely overwhelmed and excited to win this prestigious award,” she said when she received the news.
“I am honoured that the 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 says she admired Komla Dumor, who passed away two years ago. (Credit: BBC)
Akinyelure 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. Her passion for telling Africa’s diverse stories and challenging preconceived stereotypes reflect Komla’s own devotion to the continent and, as part of his legacy, she will be able to share her enthusiasm with the BBC’s global audience.
Josephine Hazeley, Deputy Editor for BBC Africa, said, “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 the 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.”
Ugandan-born Nancy Kacungira, last year’s winner of the BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, said: “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 award was set up in honour of presenter Komla Dumor who passed away in January 2014 and aims to continue Komla’s legacy by celebrating African journalism and finding exceptional talent.
The judging panel included Anna Williams, Editor 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.
There are two runners up for the award: Olive Burrows and Trevor Ombija, both of whom are Kenyan.