The African Banker Awards 2023 Gala Ceremony, the most prestigious event in the African banking calendar, took place in Egypt on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Annual Meetings. The ceremony was attended by over 300 of the continent’s leading bankers, regulators, and policymakers.
Now in its 17th edition, the African Banker Awards celebrate the achievements of individuals and institutions that have contributed significantly to the growth and development of Africa’s banking sector over the past year.
“This year’s award ceremony is a testament not only to the vibrancy and dynamism of Africa’s banking industry but also its increasing diversity,” said Omar Ben Yedder, Committee Chairman and Group Publisher at IC Publications, publishers of African Banker. “The financial services industry continues to demonstrate excellence, innovation and impact in their respective markets and regions.
Esther Kariuki , Head of Agriculture Business at the Co-op Bank of Kenya was awarded the African Banker of the Year prize ,making history as the second woman to win African Banker of the Year Award. Ms Kariuki has been a central figure in advancing agriculture as a key asset class for her institution. Not only a leader and role model, she was also responsible for considerably increasing lending to the agriculture sector and oversaw the roll-out 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.
While commenting on the award Ms Kariuki said,“I am delighted to have been declared the winner of the African Banker of the Year! This one goes to The greatest Bank on earth Co-operative Bank of Kenya! Thank you our Group MD &CEO Dr. Gideon Muriuki for being the greatest leader and for urging us to get up and do good everyday, everywhere especially to the great farmers of our country. “
Other winners include the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) which won two prestigious awards ,in recognition of its growing leadership within Africa’s financial services sector. The institution was celebrated as both African Bank of the Year and Development Financial Institution of the Year, making it the sole institution to win more than one award during this year’s ceremony.
The youngest ever serving governor of Mauritius Central Bank, Harvesh Kumar Seegolam, took the Central Bank Governor of the Year Award. Appointed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Seegolam leveraged Mauritius Investment Corporation (MIC) to provide critical financial support to key sectors of the economy by investing in private sector operators. Its latest returns report demonstrated that the investments made through the MIC have increased in value, despite the challenging economic conditions faced.
South African banks swept many of the Deal of the Year categories. South Africa’s Enoch Godongwana won the Minister of Finance of the Year Award. He was recognised for his steadfast management of the economy as finance minister as well as the work he has done to encourage investment to accelerate the energy transition.
The African continent has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world. Letshego Nigeria took the inaugural AFAWA Bank of the Year Award, a category spotlighting financial institutions empowering female entrepreneurs across the continent. The Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) is a pan-African initiative to bridge the $42 billion financing gap facing women in Africa.
The African Banker Icon was won by veteran dealmaker Miguel Azevedo, head of investment banking for sub-saharan Africa excluding South Africa at Citi. The lifetime achievement award went to another veteran banker, Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, former Managing Director and current Non-executive Chairman of CIB Bank, Egypt’s largest private sector bank.
FinTech, Climate Finance, Cross-Border payments are all being shaped by the leaders we are recognising today.”
The ceremony is organised by African Banker magazine with the African Development Bank as its High Patron. This year’s AfDB Meetings focused on mobilising private sector finance towards green growth. The 2023 edition was sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and Tanzania’s CRDB Bank.