Announcing the winners – African Banker Awards

All the winners with Omar Ben Yedder (source - IC Publications)

All the winners with Omar Ben Yedder (source – IC Publications)

Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 African Banker Awards announced in Abidjan on 27 May. It is always a privilege to be a judge and I am very impressed with so many of the excellent business ventures and projects, including billion-dollar infrastructure plans and connectivity for tens of millions of Africans. Competition is very hot and all of the short-listed entries for this year’s ninth awards were excellent.

Morocco’s Groupe Banque Populaire triumphs as 2015 African Bank of the Year and Ghana’s Albert Essien, Group CEO of Ecobank, wins the award for African Banker of the Year. Tidjane Thiam, from Cote d’Ivoire and the first African CEO of a FTSE100 company, wins the African Banker Icon award and Nigeria’s Jim Ovia, Chairman of best-performing Zenith Bank wins the Lifetime Achievement category.

Groupe Banque Populaire has recently taken a major stake in West African group Banque Atlantique and helped to turn around its performance significantly. Essien inherited a bank in a precarious position last year, but has managed to steady the ship and bring in some important shareholders to strengthen Ecobank’s capital base. Thiam is the CEO of Prudential insurance and shortly to become CEO of bank Credit Suisse.

The awards were hosted by African Banker magazine at a gala dinner in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, with over 500 people there including Ministers, Central Bank Governors and the CEOs of some of Africa’s leading Banks and financial institutions.

Here is the full list of winners:
African Bank of the Year
Groupe Banque Populaire – Morocco

African Banker of the Year
Albert Essien, Group CEO Ecobank (ETI)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jim Ovia Chairman, Zenith Bank – Nigeria

Finance Minister of the Year
Hon. Claver Gatete – Rwanda

Central Bank Governor of the Year
Prof Njuguna Ndung’u – Kenya

African Banker Icon
Tidjane Thiam, former Finance Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and CEO of Prudential

Best Regional Banks in Africa

Best Bank in North Africa
Attijariwafa Bank – Morocco

Best Bank in West Africa
Orabank

Best Bank in Central Africa
Groupe BGFI Bank – Gabon

Best Bank in East Africa
Bank of Kigali – Rwanda

Best Bank in Southern Africa
Banco de Comercio e Investimentos – Mozambique

Best Retail Bank in Africa
Standard Bank – South Africa

Investment Bank of the Year
Rand Merchant Bank – South Africa

Award for Innovation in Banking
Millennium BIM – Mozambique

Socially Responsible Bank of the Year
BMCE Bank – Morocco

Award for Financial Inclusion
Fondation Attawfik – Morocco

Deal of the Year – Equity
Seplat IPO, Standard Bank

Deal of the Year – Debt
$850m Commercial and ECA Backed Financing Package for the Ethiopian Railways Corporation, Credit Suisse

Trade Finance Deal of the Year
$1.3bn Petroleum Export Limited Syndicated Pre-export Facility, Commercial International Bank (CIB) – Egypt

Infrastructure Deal of the Year
CENPOWER – KPONE IPP, Africa Finance Corporation – Nigeria

Best Islamic Finance Initiative
Senegal Sukuk, Citi and ICD

MasterCard International supported the event and MasterCard Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Daniel Monehin said: “We believe that the African Banker Awards understands precisely what excellence in banking means – one only has to consider the Award winners and nominees tonight. This is why we are proud to support these Awards, where we recognize and commemorate our banking colleagues who have, in the last year, provided us with outstanding examples of progress towards our shared goal of banking excellence.” Ecobank/Nedbank, Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique au Congo (BIAC), Banque Altantique, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, GT Bank and Coris Bank International also supported the Awards, along with ECAir, Sopra Banking Software and Travelex.

Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker thanked the sponsors and the judging panel which this year included Ade Adebajo, Consultant, Debt Capital Markets – Africa; Koosum Kalyan, Chairman, EdgoMerap Pty Ltd; Tom Minney, Editor, African Capital Markets News & African Growth Partners Ltd; Alain le Noir, CEO – Finances Sans Frontières; Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner – Ernst & Young Ethiopia; Michel Losembe, President – Congolese Association of Banks; Paul Derreumaux Honorary President – Bank of Africa Group and Christopher Hartland – Peel, Principal – Hartland-Peel Africa Equity Research.

Ben Yedder said “We have a fantastic crop of winners once again and they are widespread in terms of countries. East Africa won two coveted awards: the Minister of Finance and Central Bank Governor categories for Rwanda and Kenya, respectively. Morocco had a strong showing with four awards. Mozambique did well winning two awards in the most innovative bank and best bank in Southern Africa categories. It is great to see banks and financiers rise to the challenge to keep innovating and having a positive impact on Africa’s growth. The growth story will depend on a strong and resilient banking system, one that is both bold and responsible. We see plenty of these qualities amongst our winners tonight.”

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