Premium Times journalist, Mr Yusuf Akinpelu was last night named the Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year for 2021, becoming the first non-South African journalist to win the coveted prize since it was opened to journalists across the African continent.

Mr Akinpelu, who is currently covering the Kenyan elections, also won The African Growth Story award. Currently covering the Kenyan elections, Mr Akinpelu could not attend the Johannesburg gala event at which the awards were presented. His body of work submitted for the African Growth Story category included articles about “How Nigerians are paying the deadly price for Europe’s dirty fuel,” and “Nigeria’s solar wealth can fix the costly electricity problem.”

The Best Newcomer award went to Mr Paul Murungi of the Daily Monitor newspaper and NTV Uganda, which are part of the Nation Media Group. Mr Murungi demonstrated creativity and candour in his business reporting using multimedia, according to the independent judging panel.

Established by Sanlam in 1974 the awards recognises exceptional financial journalism on the African continent.

Open to journalists practising in Africa, the African Growth Story prize recognises stories covering significant trade and investment developments on the continent. Entries should cover the growth of the continent on topics including investments, infrastructure, and economic development.

This year the judging panel received a total of 90 entries which were filed in 2021 by journalists from all corners of the African continent.

The adjudication panel did not award a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The full list of winners and runners-up were:

Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year

  • Mr. Yusuf Akinpelu

Premium Times, Nigeria

 Best Newcomer        

  • Mr. Paul Murungi
  • Daily Monitor / NTV, Nation Media Group, Uganda 

Business / Companies        

  • Winner – Ms. Susan Comrie, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism
  • First runner-up – Rob Rose, Financial Mail,
  • Second Joint runners-up
  • Mr. TJ Strydom, Freelance, Financial Mail, Sunday Times Business Times
  • Ms. Giulietta Talevi, Financial Mail


  • Winner – Ms. Claire Bisseker, Financial Mail
  • First runner-up – Mr. Rob Rose, Financial Mail
  • Second runner-up – Ms. Adele Shevel, Financial Mail 

Financial Markets     

  • Winner – Mr. Rob Rose, Financial Mail
  • First runner-up – Ms. Lisa Steyn, Business Day
  • Second runner-up – Mr. Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb

Consumer Financial Education      

  • Winner – Ms. Maya Fischer-French, Maya on Money
  • Runner up – Mr. Ryk van Niekerk, Moneyweb

African Growth Story          

  • Winner – Mr. Yusuf Akinpelu, Premium Times, Nigeria
  • First runner-up – Mr. Caleb Ojewale, Business Day, Nigeria
  • Second runner-up – Mr. Mbongeni Mguni, Mmegi, Botswana

Broadcast Audio      

  • Winner – Mr. Ryk van Niekerk, Geldsake met Moneyweb, Radio Sonder Grense
  • Runner-up – Destiny Onyemihia, Voice of Nigeria

Broadcast TV/Video

  • Winner – Ms. Sasha Schwendenwein, Carte Blanche, Mnet
  • First runner-up – Ms. Brenda Kerubo, The Standard Group, Kenya
  • Second runner-up – Ms. Carolyne Tomno, Kass Media Group, Kenya

The category winners each receive R25 000 prize money, the best newcomer prize is R20 000, while the overall winner receives an additional R35 000. The first and second runners up each receive R10 000 and R15 000 respectively.

Sanlam Group’s Chief Executive: Brand, Mr Sydney Mbhele, said: “Sanlam is pleased to acknowledge the best financial journalism in Africa and we congratulate all the journalists who submitted entries for the 2021 awards. The wide variety of stories in the seven contested categories display the courage, diligence, beautiful storytelling and an enormous commitment to excellence in reporting the diverse and revealing picture about the continent’s challenges and progress in business and economics. These journalists bring honour to Africa’s talent and to the journalism profession.”

The chair of the independent adjudication panel, Professor Nixon Kariithi, was joined by Ms Paula Fray, Professor Ylva Rodny-Gumede, Mr Ulrich Joubert and Mr Charles Naude, all based in South Africa, as well as Ms Angela Agoawike in Nigeria, Mr Tom Indimuli in Kenya, and Ms Emily Brown in Namibia.

Commenting on Akinpelu’s achievement as the overall winner, Professor Kariithi said: “Every year the independent judging panel look out for a submission that could be seen to represent the best of African financial journalism. As usual the entries were of high quality, making for interesting deliberations among the judges. The Sanlam Financial Journalist of the Year candidate was unanimously selected by the judges and was fully deserving of the noble recognition as the best of the best for the 2021 awards.”

Published by Atmosphere Communications.