The Walter-Scheel prize was awarded for the first time on 26 May 2011 in Berlin in the presence of former president Walter Scheel, after whom it is named. It is given to individuals and organisations performing particular services to development in society.
The award ceremony for this year took place on September 8, 2015 at the Villa Hammer Schmidt in Bonn, Germany and a Kenyan was the recipient of this award.
James Shikwati is the founder and Executive Director of the Inter Region Economic Network [IREN], an independent and non-partisan think tank that promotes policies geared towards the creation of a free Africa. He is also the Country Director for Students In Free Enterprise [SIFE Kenya] and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an online business magazine The African Executive that is published weekly by IREN.
Shikwati is not only CEO of an online business magazine, he is also writer and a commentator on public policy with a special interest in development, environment, trade and agriculture related issues.
He was awarded the prize in for his commitment to regional development co-operation. James Shikwati, Enactus Kenya and German professor Eyke Weber, shared the Walter-Scheel Prize 2015 Award.
Mr Shikwati is the first African to win the prize that is named after the former President of Germany, Walter Scheel. who once served as Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Development (1961 to 1966), Foreign Minister (1969 to 1974), acting Chancellor of West Germany and finally President of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In his acceptance speech for the award at the Villa Hammerschmidt, Shikwati said it recognised the role of indigenous African agencies in fighting poverty and spurring economic development and job creation across the continent.
James believes Africa needs multiple developments driven by job creation and economic development. He says that the challenges facing African countries cannot be cured with aid money in a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ but rather through initiatives that help people tap into their creativity to emerge out of poverty.