Africa’s women bankers were the toast of the town during the 8th edition of the annual African Banker awards held in Kigali, Rwanda. There was also welcome recognition of some of the continent’s smaller institutions.
It was woman power to the fore during the 8th edition of the annual African Banker Awards, this year held at the Serena Hotel Kigali. Among the guests attending this hallmark event was President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who received the newly instituted Ubuntu Award for outstanding leadership. Other guests included HE Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana and numerous Ministers of Finance and bank CEOs.
Vivienne Yeda, Director General of the East African Development Bank, scooped the much-coveted award for African Banker of the Year. Linah Mohohlo was named Central Bank Governor of the Year, while Elizabeth Mary Oleko, chairperson of the Kenya Women Finance Trust, rounded up a strong performance for women bankers with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year the judges also recognised the smaller financial institutions and those which have operated in challenging environments. Trust Merchant Bank, an independent commercial bank operating in DR Congo, won Best Bank in Central Africa.
Ecobank Mali won Best Bank in West Africa category, a welcome endorsement for Mali, which successfully transitioned to a democratically elected Presidency after a 2012 coup that crippled the economy. Stanbic Zimbabwe beat tough competition from bigger banks to become Best Bank in Southern Africa, despite challenging economic conditions.
Two outstanding landmark deals were rewarded. Bob Diamond, previously of Barclays Bank, saw the $325m IPO of his new investment vehicle, Atlas Mara Co-Nvest, overseen by Citi, win Deal of the Year. The $3.3bn finance facility for Dangote Industries to build the continent’s largest refinery, petrochemical and fertiliser plant was also recognised with Standard Chartered, the lead financier on the transaction, receiving the award.
Omar Ben Yedder, publisher of African Banker, said: “We’re delighted to be here – not least because President Paul Kagame graced our sister event, the African Business Awards, several years ago.
“Since our first event in 2007, we have witnessed the transformation of Africa’s banking industry. So our award categories have widened, and the number of entries have increased to reflect this.
“My personal favourite is Deal of the Year, not just because investment bankers have mastered the art of storytelling, but also because the entries highlight the critical work that’s being done by banks in the transformation of Africa.
“We are seeing landmark transactions, innovative solutions, and today local banks are executing deals that would have been unimaginable 10 years ago.
“Interestingly, we also received entries from countries which have experienced recent shocks, such as Mali, Egypt and Zimbabwe. I read submissions from institutions not just servicing the rich, or parking their money in treasury bills, but reaching businesses and the unbanked in what we call the ‘real economy’.”
Anver Versi, editor of African Banker, said: “One of the functions of our annual African Banker Awards, in addition, of course, to recognising and highlighting outstanding achievement in the industry, is to provide the appropriate space for various players from the industry, coming from all parts of Africa and at different levels of development, to meet, mingle, discuss and hopefully help and support each other. In the ﬁnal analysis, when Africa wins, we all win.”
The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker magazine and BusinessinAfrica Events (BIAE). It is a landmark event that celebrates excellence and best practices in African banking and finance.