The African Banker Awards are traditionally held during the AfDB’s annual meetings, usually in May. Both have now been pushed back to the end of August due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the award presentations will be held virtually on the 26th. The list of nominees reflects the breadth and depth of the work of financial institutions on the continent and the strength of the sector during this crisis.
The entries for this year’s African Banker Awards have been the most diverse to date – see the full list at the end of this article. The Deals of the Year categories always give a good insight in terms of what is happening on the debt and equity front – offering a good gauge of the size and complexity of deals taking place as well as showing how they are received by the international community.
The last year has seen some interesting developments. The Africa Finance Corporation went to the capital markets twice in 2019 with Bank of America, raising $650m and $500m respectively. The infrastructure specialists also managed to raise a further $140m ‘Kimchi bond’, the first-ever Korea-focused syndication for an African borrower.
In February, the Bank of Industry, a longstanding supporter of the African Banker Awards, raised a €1bn syndicated loan facility. This is the second time in three years that it has decided to access financial markets. This transaction will come in handy during this time of crisis as the bank provides medium to long tenured loans at relatively low interest rates to the ‘real’ economy.
The government of Ghana was also active in capital markets during the first quarter of this year. The timing was somewhat fortuitous coming just before the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As a result it managed to raise, at attractive prices, $3bn through a triple-tranche offering, $1.25bn at 6.375% due in February 2027, $1bn at 7.875 due in February 2035 and $750m at 8.75% due in March 2061.
We added new categories to the Awards this year to mirror the African Development Bank’s High Fives. For the Infrastructure category representing the AfDB’s ‘Integrating Africa’ goal, there was a great diversity of entries. Transport and logistics were well represented through the Nouakchott Port modernisation project. The first phase of the project will cost $310m.
The 30-year PPP concession is being developed with Arise, an infrastructure and logistics solution company that started in Gabon, and Meridiam, an infrastructure developer, investor and asset manager. On the eastern African coast, the Tanzania Railway Corporation’s 202km standard gauge railway project between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro is also shortlisted.
Energy has traditionally attracted a lot of interest from the banks due to the size of the financing requirements and their complexity – in fact, this time Energy Deals have been allocated their own category. West African giant Oragroup was involved in a syndicated facility to the French energy group Eranove for a 65MW power plant in Togo.
One of the bigger projects on the continent is the $2.9bn Rufiji River dam and hydropower plant in Tanzania, which involves a number of African actors including Afreximbank and CRDB Bank on the financing and the Egyptian groups, Elsewedy and Arab Contractors on the construction side. It will be the fourth-largest dam in Africa and 60th-biggest globally.
The Agriculture category attracted a good variety of entries. One interesting project features a $3.7m facility from Equity bank for the production of French beans in Kenya for export markets.
In addition, the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, alongside USAID, have disbursed around $4m to local horticulture farmers and for livestock and dairy value chains in 17 counties across the country.
At the other end of the scale, Access Bank provided Olam with $27.8m to finance the expansion of Olam Nigeria’s rice farm by 2,581 hectares to 6,932 hectares. The finance will be used for the construction of irrigation systems, the balancing of dams and the construction of 54km of roads to serve the six communities within the farm location.
Green bonds gain prominence
One product has really come of age – green bonds feature prominently this year and are bound to become an instrument that African corporates and sovereigns will use extensively, especially with the rise of ESG-related funds.
The new issuances have laid the ground for others by creating a precedent and highlighting the technical and regulatory requirements that need to be overcome. They will also encourage developers to add social and environmental considerations to their projects, to be able to tap into this new pool of capital.
On the equity side the biggest transaction in the past year was undoubtedly Naspers’ partial spin-off through the listing of its internet assets on the Amsterdam exchange. Prosus today has a market cap of €132bn, one of the rare stocks to have gained value during this pandemic. Access Bank’s takeover of Diamond Bank, the biggest bank M&A to take place in Africa last year, is also shortlisted.
This year’s sponsors include the African Guarantee Fund, the Bank of Industry, Moza Banco and Olam. The AfDB is the event’s High Patron.
For further information visit the African Banker Awards 2020 website
African Banker of the Year
Ade Ayeyemi – Ecobank
Tarek Fayed – Banque du Caire, Egypt
Joao Figueiredo – MozaBanco, Mozambique
James Mwangi – Equity Bank, Kenya
Herbert Wigwe – Access Bank, Nigeria
African Bank of the Year
Guaranty Trust Bank
Trade and Development Bank
Investment Bank of the Year
Bank of America
Rand Merchant Bank
Award for Financial Inclusion
Equity Bank, Kenya
Financial Regulatory Authority of Egypt
Jumo, South Africa
Kenya Women Microfinance Bank
Innovation in Banking
Absa, Regional Operations
Standard Bank, South Africa
Trade and Development Bank
Socially Responsible Bank of the Year
Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco
Banque Misr, Egypt
East African Development Bank
Equity Bank, Kenya
Standard Bank, South Africa
Deal of the Year – Equity
Access Acquisition of Diamond Bank – Chapel Hill Denham / Citi
Airtel Dual Listing – Citi
Clover Buy-out and De-listing – RMB
Helios Towers IPO – Standard Bank / RenCap / EFG Hermes / BOA and Jeffries
MTN Nigeria IPO – Chapel Hill Denham
Deal of the Year – Debt
Access Bank Green Bond – Chapel Hill Denham
AFC Kimchi Syndication – Nedbank
Bank of Industry €1bn syndicated senior loan facility – BOI / Afreximbank
Cable Wireless Seychelles LBO – TDB
IHS$1.8bn dual currency facility – RMB / Citi
Project Isanti (Nampak funding facility) – Standard Bank
Infrastructure Deal of the Year
Acorn Green Bond – GuarantCo and Standard Bank
Gel Utility Nigeria – Infracredit
Nouakchott Port Financing – Hogan Lovells
Port of Maputo – Standard Bank
Standard Gauge Railway, Tanzania – CRDB
Energy Deal of the Year
Eranove Kekeli Power – Oragroup
Genser Energy Ghana – Standard Bank
Renewable Energy Bond – Nedbank
Rufiji Dam Tanzania – CRDB / Afreximbank
Sahara Power Assets – FBN
Agriculture Deal of the Year
Agri Exim – Absa Uganda
French Beans Project – Equity Bank
Kenya Women Microfinance Bank and USAID Kenya Investment Mechanism
Olam Rice Farm – Access Bank
Phoenix Trade Finance Facility – Afreximbank
SME Bank of the year
Bank of Industry, Nigeria
Bank Misr, Egypt
Sterling Bank, Nigeria