Rosa Whitaker, founder and CEO of the Whitaker Group, has been hailed as a “trailblazer” by Face2Face Africa at its fifth annual awards gala to recognize and celebrate of pan-African achievement.
Ms. Whitaker was one of five “inspirational heroes” Face2FaceAfrica honored with FACE List Awards in New York on Saturday evening. FACE stands for Fascinating Africans Committed to Excellence. Ms. Whitaker received the Trailblazer Award.
Face2FaceAfrica, a fast-growing media group, was founded in 2011 Sandra Appiah and Isaac Babu-Boateng, both originally from Ghana. Through its website, www.Face2FaceAfrica.com, and social media channels, it gives people with a shared ancestry in Africa tools, inspiration and insight to help “re-brand” the continent.
“The FACE List is an essential platform,” said Mr Babu-Boateng. “By acknowledging and celebrating the achievements and impact of our trailblazers, it is our hope that their journey and success stories will inspire and motivate the new generation of African descendants.”
Accepting her award, Ms. Whitaker said that “if this is to be Africa’s century – and I am fully convinced it will be – Africa’s people must be empowered to take charge of the African narrative.”
She praised Ms Appiah and Mr. Babu-Boateng for having the courage to launch Face2Face Africa. “Face2Face understand the power of technology to bring us together to realize the pan-African dream.”
“I’d like us to seize this occasion created by Face2Face to promote a common vision for the continent from which we all came and which we all love,” Ms. Whitaker continued.
The common vision, she said, should include agreement on the serious challenges Africa and its people still faced. She noted that one in ten children still died before reaching the age of five and 600 million Africans had no access to electricity.
“I am not promoting a negative narrative of Africa,” she stressed. “It’s only negative if we are without solutions and hope. We are all part of the solution and will not be defeated by the very real challenges that remain to be addressed.”
“I truly believe that over the coming decades Africa will unify, politically and economically. Africa as a region will become an economic powerhouse powered by African education, innovation and entrepreneurs. This, I believe, is no longer a dream but increasingly a promise – a promise that will benefit all humanity.”
Honored this year with Ms. Whitaker were Grammy Award winner Wyclef Jean; Wale Adeosun, founder and chief investment officer, Kuramo Capital; Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief, Essence Magazine; renowned celebrity chef and entrepreneur Marcus Samuelson. Previous honorees have included Dr Mohamed Ebrahim and music superstart Angelique Kijo.