African Banker Awards, the landmark event, celebrates excellence and best practices in African banking and finance. The prestigious ceremony took place in Kigali, Rwanda, 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 for African Banker of the Year. Linah Mohohlo was named Central Bank Governor of the Year. Elizabeth Mary Oleko, chairperson of the Kenya Women Finance Trust, rounded off a strong performance for women bankers with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other special guests at the glittering awards ceremony included the host country’s president Paul Kagame, who received a Special Recognition Award for his leadership and vision; Festus Mogae, former President of Botswana; Charles Chuka, Central Bank Governor of Malawi; Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, Ghana; John Rwangombwa, Central Bank Governor of Rwanda; Amadou Ba, Senegal’s Minister of Finance and Economy; Nigerian Minister of Agriculture Akin Adesina; Mo Ibrahim, founder and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Prize; and many other ministers of finance and bank CEOs.
In his acceptance speech, President Kagame said: “As we celebrate, we must think about doing more and sustaining what we have achieved. We look forward to continuing to work with you in pursuit of efforts that will make all of us better.”
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 from bigger banks to go home with Best Bank in Southern Africa, despite the country’s economic challenges. 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. And 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 said: “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 also delighted to see three women pick up three coveted individual awards. Congratulations to them all!”