Development Diaries, a Pan-African media-for-development (Media4D) initiative has unveiled The Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA) in Lagos-Nigeria. The SMAA is a premier continental initiative established to recognize and celebrate excellence, creativity and impact of social media on human socio-economic development – through its tools and platforms – by individuals and organizations across the continent.

Speaking during the unveiling ceremony, Project Lead of the Social Media Awards Africa, Femi Aderibigbe explained that with over 700 million mobile phones active and over 200 million internet users – with more than 110 million on Facebook – Africa’s twitter timeline in restless motion – development may be hinged on its ability to explore the technological revolution of the 21st Century.

With nomination opportunities into 4 categories of 15 awards, interested individuals and organizations can nominate from October 1 till 27, 2014 for a chance to win any of the already coveted awards. All entries will be judged on influence, originality, creativity, scalability and impact. The judging process will see winners emerge through an open and credible system involving the general public, a virtual council and jury.

Award prizes include: $1,000 USD, professional and institutional trainings on social media, access to mentorship opportunities among other benefits for excellence and impact in social media practice.

The Social Media Africa Initiative is supervised by an Advisory Board of respected individuals such as: Toby Daniels, CEO, CrowdCentric & Founder, Social Media Week; Tunji Lardner, Executive Director, West African NGO Network (WANGONeT), Ini Onuk, Lead Consultant/CEO, ThistlePraxis Consulting; Abdul Tejan-Cole, Executive Director, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) among others.

Leading the judging process is a Jury which consist of: Ken Banks, Founder,; Francis Ebuehi, Vice President, Value Added Services, Airtel Nigeria; Obi Asika, Chief Executive Officer, Dragon Africa; Ryan Silberman, CEO, Popimedia South Africa; Dele Fatunla, Communications Coordinator, Royal Arts Society, London; Muyiwa Moyela, External Relations Lead, IBM West Africa; Hetal Shah, Chief Operating Officer, Mara Group of Companies and many more.

The Social Media Awards Africa is sponsored by Sterling Bank, Africa Media Initiative, AIESEC and WANGONeT.

For more information about the Social Media Awards Africa (SMAA), follow @sma_africa on twitter and find SMAAfrica on all major social media platforms.