This year, the East African country of Rwanda was the host for the eighth edition of annual African Banker Awards, the landmark event that celebrates excellence and best practices in African banking and finance. The prestigious ceremony, attended by President Paul Kagame, took place in its capital Kigali in May, alongside the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank. Andrea Davilnor reports from Kigali.
It was a night of triumph for women at the African Banker Awards 2014, with three top female bankers honoured for their personal achievements.
Vivienne Yeda, Director General of the East African Development Bank, scooped the much-coveted award of African Banker of the Year. Linah Mohohlo of Botswana was named Central Bank Governor of the Year. Elizabeth Mary Oleko, chairperson of the Kenya Women Finance Trust, rounded up a strong performance for women bankers with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other special guests at the glittering awards ceremony included Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, who received a Special Recognition Award for his leadership and vision. In his acceptance speech, President Kagame said, “As we celebrate, we must think about doing more and sustaining what we have achieved.”
Among many ministers of finance and bank CEOs were Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana; Charles Chuka, Central Bank Governor, Malawi; Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, Ghana; John Rwangombwa, Central Bank Governor, Rwanda; Amadou Ba, Minister of Finance and Economy, Senegal; Akin Adesina, Minister of Agriculture, Nigeria; Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Prize.
This year, the judges also recognised the smaller financial institutions and those operating 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. Stanbic Zimbabwe beat tough competition to become Best Bank in Southern Africa, despite challenging economic conditions.
Two landmark deals were rewarded. Bob Diamond, previously of Barclays Bank, saw the $325m IPO of his new investment vehicle, Atlas Mara Co-Nvest, win Deal of the Year, which was overseen by Citi. The $3.3bn finance facility for Dangote Industries to build the continent’s largest refinery, petrochemical and fertiliser plant was also rewarded, with Standard Chartered, which was the lead financier on the transaction, receiving the award.
Commenting on the ceremony, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker magazine, commended the landmark achievement by banks. “We are here in Kigali where we have witnessed the transformation of a country.
Since we launched the awards, we have witnessed the transformation of an industry. There is no room for complacency because there is much room for growth and development to achieve the transformation we all desire and work towards.
But seeing local African banks finance and structure international deals is a step forward, and unimaginable a decade back. And I am delighted to see three women pick up three coveted individual awards. Congratulations to them all!”
The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker, IC Events and Businessin-Africa Events (BIAE).