Standard Bank Group was last week named African Bank of the Year by a leading publication in recognition of the banking giant’s achievements in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and empowering women.
African Banker magazine announced the winners of its 2021 Awards at a virtual ceremony held on the side-lines of the African Development Bank’s 2021 Annual Meetings. The African Development Bank is a high patron of the event.
The 2021 virtual event featured performances by African diva Angelique Kidjo and Adina, a Ghanaian-South African singer.
The award for African Banker of the Year went, for the second consecutive year, to Mr Hebert Wigwe, MD and co-founder of Access Bank Group, which has grown rapidly to become one of the largest retail banks in Africa over the last decade, with over 40 million customers.
The 2021 edition of the awards set out to recognise institutions that have contributed to women’s empowerment on the continent and to the real economy, which has suffered from the impact of COVID-19.
Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaâboun, was named Finance Minister of the Year in recognition of his ministry’s exemplary response to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Omar Ben Yedder, group publisher of African Banker, commended the banking sector for its responsiveness to clients’ needs, and for setting up gender programs, supporting women-led businesses and promoting women within their organisations.
“Fintechs are really the flavour of the year and we’ve seen plenty of money from venture capital, from private equity wealth, going into the fintech space in Egypt, Kenya and in Nigeria, and to some extent crypto and blockchain, although those are at very early stages,” Mr Ben Yedder said.
The continued strength and resilience of the banking sector would be critical to support economic recovery from the pandemic across Africa, he said. – AfDB
2021 African Banker Award Winners
Sustainable Bank: Commercial International Bank (Egypt)
Infrastructure Deal: Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway US$1.46 billion loan facility (Nedbank, Standard Chartered & TDB)
Equity Deal: Privatisation of Afam Power Plc & Afam Three Fast Power Ltd (FBNQuest)
Debt Deal: Afreximbank COVID-19 Support Facility (MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group)
Financial Inclusion: Trust Merchant Bank (DRC)
African Banker Icon: Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital
Finance Minister of the Year: Mohammed Benchaâboun (Morocco)
Innovation for Financial Services: Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme
Energy Deal: Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi, 7.5MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi (African Trade Insurance Agency)
Agriculture Deal: US$400 million Revolving Trade Finance Facility for ETC Group
SME Bank: Ecobank
Regional Bank: Attijariwafa Bank (Morocco), Banque de Développement du Mali, Equity Bank (Kenya), BGFI (Gabon), Mozabanco (Mozambique)
Investment Bank: ABSA (South Africa)
Central Bank Governor: Lesetja Kganyago (South Africa)
Lifetime Achievement: Felix Bikpo
African Bank of the Year: Standard Bank Group (South Africa)
African Banker of the Year: Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank)