Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was named the winner of the 2021 Great Builder Super Prize, the Babacar Ndiaye Trophy, during the inaugural Africa Road Builders Conference held in Cairo last week.
The Nigerian head of state, who succeeds his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, winner of the 2020 prize, received the award “for his personal leadership and for the efforts made to ensure road safety and the health of the population in the context of transport”.
The selection committee cited Nigeria’s efforts to improve road safety and air quality for road users, and commended efforts to obtain COVID-19 vaccines and for advancing major transport projects, especially in the rail sector, that will ensure the optimal operation of roads and transport.
The trophy will be awarded on 24 June on the side-lines of the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings. The central theme of this year’s conference was “Roads and Transport for Health: Actions and Achievements to Meet Africa’s Challenges”. The conference was chaired by the Egyptian Minister of Transport, Kamel Elwazeer, represented by Engineer General Mustafa El-Din Hossam, chairman of the Egyptian Roads and Bridges Authority.
A number of participants presented papers, including Carlos Lopes, an economist from Guinea Bissau who chairs the Africa Road Builders Conference Bureau. Representatives of Afreximbank, the Senegalese Road Maintenance Fund and the National Bureau of Technical Studies of Côte d’Ivoire also made presentations.
The Babacar Ndiaye Africa Road Builders Award is organised by Acturoutes, an information platform on infrastructure and roads in Africa, and Media for Infrastructure and Finance in Africa (MIFA), a network of African journalists specialised in road infrastructure. African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina sponsors the award. The selection committee comprises media representatives from the five regions of the continent who rely on media reports and experts on road networks, transport, and sustainable development.
The award was created in honour of Babacar Ndiaye, President of the African Development Bank Group from 1985 to 1995. Each year, the Africa Road Builders selection committee carefully evaluates ambitious and tangible projects that have a real impact on the mobility of people in Africa.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, was recognized for his work to improve the quality of life of the Egyptian people. In Cairo, these works include the Heliopolis metro station and the suspension bridge over the Nile, as well as the extension of the port of Damietta and the restoration of the Tanta-Mansourah-Damietta railway line.
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