Business, Finance & Economics

Lamido Sanusi wins Forbes' Africa Person of the Year


Nigeria's Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi has been named Africa's Person of the Year by Forbes Magazine. Here Sanusi attends a session at the 10th International Economic Forum on Africa held at the French Economy ministry in Paris on June 11, 2010.


Eric Piermont

The online votes are in for Forbes magazine’s inaugural Africa Person of the Year award, and Nigeria’s central bank governor Lamido Sanusi has taken the top honor.

Sanusi received more readers' votes than five other candidates, including Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

Sanusi has led reforms in Nigeria’s banking sector since he was appointed its chief in 2009, according to BBC.

The bank rescued nine Nigerian banks and fired their executives linked to fraudulent practices in the bank’s operations. Many of those bankers have been put on trial for mismanaging public finances, reported the Nigerian television station, Channels.

Last year another financial publication, The Banker, named Sanusi as the best central bank governor of the year.

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria's banking crisis

But Sanusi’s reforms have also earned him critics who say his changes have led to massive job losses in banking, according to BBC.

While receiving the Forbes award, Sanusi said that central bank’s role was not to create jobs but to create an environment that businesses thrive in, according to the Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust.

He called on the government to tighten fiscal discipline and discourage imports.

“You cannot be exporting crude and be importing petrol,” he said, according to the Daily Trust.

Nigeria is a leading oil producer in the world, but poverty is still endemic in the country.