The best in African banking was celebrated recently at the 6th edition of the African Banker Awards, under the patronage of the African Development Bank (www.afdb.org) and African Banker magazine (www.africasia.com/africanbanker). The awards highlight outstanding talent and achievement in Africa’s financial sector. Top African Ministers of Finance, central bank governors, bank CEOs, senior executives and others gathered in Arusha, Tanzania in the shadow of Mt Meru and Mt Kilimanjaro.
There was a moving moment when Ecobank CEO, Arnold Ekpe, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the founder and chairman of IC Publications, (publisher of African Banker), Afif Ben Yedder. Ekpe was given a standing ovation. Ecobank, based in Togo and spread across Africa, beat strong challengers to emerge as the Bank of the Year. There were more cheers when Dr Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, was named as African Banker Icon 2012.
Olusegun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria was awarded the prize for African Banker of the year by Tim Turner, Director of the Private Sector Operations of the AfDB.
The Best Regional Bank winners from each of the five regions of Africa were: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco for North Africa; BGFI, Gabon for Central Africa; Bank of Kigali, Rwanda for East Africa; Access Bank, Nigeria for West Africa; and BCI, Mozambique for Southern Africa- thus highlighting Africa’s diversity but strength as one continent.
IC Publisher Omar ben Yedder said: “We have recognized some superb individuals and institutions tonight. Africa’s financial sector is a major vehicle for driving the economic growth that has become the talk of the investor community around the world. We have honoured individuals who are prepared to take the bull by the horn, to carry out well thought out visions and who have raised the bar and in some cases taken difficult decisions to deliver on their agenda. Good examples are the Central Bank Governor of Tunisia and the Finance Minister of Guinea. The winners this year represent a good mix between francophone and Anglophone Africa, big and small countries. They reflect the achievements in banking and finance all over Africa.”
The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker magazine, IC Events and BusinessinAfrica Events.
African Banker was launched in 2007 and is the only pan-African magazine dedicated to banking on the continent and is published in French and in English. It has become an essential tool of the people and institutions that pull the strings in Africa’s banking and finance industries.
Declaration of Interest: I am a judge of the African Banker Awards 2012 and 2011 and I also write for African Banker magazine.