By Princewill Ekwujuru
It’s instructive when businesses want to guarantee long-term success they must ensure the success of their operating environment. Diageo, represented by Guinness Nigeria, is a company that seems to take its role in adding value to the society seriously.
The company has shown to be a responsible member of the society, but this should not be surprising considering the roots of Guinness itself. Arthur Guinness started brewing stout lager in 1759 at St. James’ Gate brewery. Guinness, who was a Protestant, went on to set up some of the most impactful community outreach and welfare programmes in the history of Ireland that continued for many years after his death. It was recorded that by 1900, Guinness’ brewery was operating unparalleled welfare schemes for its 5,000 employees and by 1907 the welfare schemes were costing the brewery £40,000 a year, which was one fifth of the total wage bill at the time.
Diageo, the British company which took over Guinness seems to have bitten the bug and have an uncommon and unwavering pledge to serving society at large that speaks to the very values upon which Guinness built his legacy.
It is against this background that the company initiated the writing awards focusing on Africa, which has gained ground across the world as the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards (DABRA). These Awards have put 10 years into rewarding excellent business reporting, focusing on Africa while drawing global attention to a region hitherto neglected for not so clear reasons, not excluding prejudice cultivated in the minds of prospective investors by negative reporting of social, cultural and economic activities therein.
It is difficult to place numbers on the volume of investment that has been drawn to Africa from the Diaspora as a result of these Awards, but what is certain is that the DABRA beams positive light on the African continent with the Awards ceremony holding annually in London. The Awards ceremony is always a celebration of Africa and the unique values that international investors can derive by setting their sights on the continent.
It has continued to attract the elite, influencers and investors. For instance the first DABRA Awards were presented on 16 July 2004 at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. This maiden edition attracted a colourful and diverse audience of over 100 guests, including MPs, business leaders, ambassadors and journalists. This unique global audience was treated to a flavour of African music on the occasion as entertainment was provided by Seckou Keita, a kora player from Mali.
The Awards buttress the impact the private sector can have in driving investment to Africa and helping her meet the Millennium Development Goals.