Letshego Microfinance Bank Nigeria has won the inaugural AFAWA Bank of the Year Award, which recognizes financial institutions that support female entrepreneurs across the continent. Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) is a pan-African program aimed at closing the $42 billion funding gap faced by African women. The African continent has the world’s largest proportion of female entrepreneurs.
The African Banker Awards 2023 Gala Ceremony, the most prominent event in the African banking calendar, took place yesterday night on the fringes of the African Development Bank Annual Meetings at the Rixos Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Over 300 of the continent’s top bankers, regulators, and officials attended the ceremony.
The African Banker Awards, now in their 17th year, honor individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to the growth and development of Africa’s banking sector over the preceding year.
Esther Kariuki is the second woman to be named African Banker of the Year. Esther Kariuki, Head of Agriculture Business at the Co-op Bank of Kenya, received the African Banker of the Year award, which was one of the evening’s most sought accolades. Ms Kariuki has played a vital role in expanding agriculture as a core asset class for her organization. She was not only a leader and role model, but she was also in charge of significantly increasing lending to the agriculture sector and oversaw the launch of the platform Co-op Bank Soko, a digital marketplace that connects the agriculture value chain and ensures, among other things, that small-holder farmers receive a higher price for their produce.
Afreximbank wins two African Banker Awards in 2023.
In Sharm El Sheikh, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) received two major awards in recognition of its rising leadership in Africa’s financial services sector. The Cairo-based firm was named African Bank of the Year as well as Development Financial firm of the Year, making it the only institution to receive several awards at this year’s festival.
Harvesh Seegolam of Mauritius is named Central Bank Governor of the Year.
Harvesh Kumar Seegolam, the Mauritius Central Bank’s youngest governor, was named Central Bank Governor of the Year. Governor Seegolam, who was appointed at the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, used the Mauritius Investment Corporation (MIC) to offer vital financial support to key areas of the economy by investing in private sector operators. Its most recent returns report indicated that, despite the adverse economic conditions, investments made through the MIC have increased in value.
Many of the Deal of the Year categories were won by South African banks. Enoch Godongwana of South Africa was named Minister of Finance of the Year. He was honored for his steady management of the economy as finance minister, as well as his efforts to attract investment in order to hasten the energy transition.
Miguel Azevedo, Citi’s head of investment banking for Sub-Saharan Africa excluding South Africa, was named African Banker Icon. Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, former Managing Director and current Non-executive Chairman of CIB Bank, Egypt’s largest private sector bank, received the lifetime achievement award.
“This year’s award ceremony demonstrates not only the vibrancy and dynamism of Africa’s banking industry, but also its growing diversity,” said Omar Ben Yedder, Committee Chairman and Group Publisher at IC Publications, which publishes African Banker. “In their respective markets and regions, the financial services industry continues to demonstrate excellence, innovation, and impact.”
The leaders we recognize today are shaping FinTech, Climate Finance, and Cross-Border payments.”
African Banker magazine is organizing the occasion, which has the African Development Bank as its High Patron. The AfDB Meetings this year focused on mobilizing private sector finance for green growth. The African Guarantee Fund, the Trade and Development Bank (TDB), and Tanzania’s CRDB Bank sponsored the 2023 edition.
The complete list of winners is as follows:
- Year of the Banker – Co-operative Bank of Kenya’s Ms Esther Kariuki
- Best Bank of the Year – Afreximbank
- Icon of African Banking – Citi’s Miguel Azevedo
- Achievement Throughout One’s Life – Commercial International Bank’s Hisham Ezz Al-Arab
- Governor of the Central Bank of the Year – Harvesh Seegolam, Mauritius Bank
- Finance Minister of the Year – South African Hon. Enoch Godongwana
- Bank of the Year for Sustainability – Nedbank is a South African bank.
- The DFI of the Year – Afreximbank
- Fintech Innovation of the Year – Africa MFS
- Bank of the Year for SMEs – CDC stands for Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.
- Debt Deal of the Year – Harmony Gold Company secured a multi-tranche, multi-currency loan agreement worth $400 million and R4 billion from Absa and Nedbank.
- Equity Transaction of the Year – Infinity Energy equity investment of $298 million and acquisition of Lekela Power – Africa Finance Corporation
- Agriculture Deal of the Year – Absa has provided a US$78 million funding facility for the Southern Oil Structured Commodity Finance Transaction.
- Infrastructure Deal of the Year – Standard Bank has provided a US$900 million debt financing arrangement for the Scatec Solar PV and Battery Storage Project.
- North American Regional Bank of the Year – African Development Bank
- Southern Regional Bank of the Year – Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco) is a Zambian commercial bank.
- East Regional Bank of the Year – The CRDB Bank
- Central Regional Bank of the Year – Trust Merchant Bank.
- West Regional Bank of the Year – The Vista Bank
- Award for AFAWA Bank of the Year – Let’s go, Nigeria.