Oct 14, 2010 Michael Eboh
Access Bank Plc and EcoBank Nigeria Plc where amongst two Nigerian banks that picked up awards at this year’s prestigious African Bankers Awards, held in Washington recently.French speaking African banks also celebrated two coveted awards on offer during the event. The Moroccan bank Attijariwafa took home African Bank of the Year, while the Best Local Bank in Africa award went to Banque Internationale Arabe Tunise (BIAT).
Although the Nigerian banks have taken a hit due to restructuring and tough reforms over the past year, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC managed to stand out and win the Socially Responsible Bank of the Year and Best Issuing House awards respectively, an indication that the traditional financial powerhouse is ready to bounce back bigger and better.
East Africa exulted in the successes of the region’s banking achievements too, as Dr. James, Mwangi , MD and CEO of Kenya’s Equity Bank picked up the African Banker of the Year award. He was cited for revolutionizing Kenya ’s banking industry, pioneering the first mobile banking technology in the world to reach out to the unbanked, and for championing the empowerment of ordinary people through inclusive finance.
T.H. Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of Uganda was honored with the accolade of Minister of Finance of the Year, for reducing inflation and instituting sound fiscal and monetary policies which have contributed to a growing economy. Ethiopia joined the exclusive ranks of winners for the first time since the inception of the Awards, with Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI) taking home the Microfinance Institution of the Year Award.
Commenting on this year’s Awards, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher, African Banker magazine, said, “We are pleased to see such a diverse set of winners this year. Banking is still growing rapidly throughout Africa and we are seeing large groups diversifying their activities and product offerings. This is necessary and the private sector needs strong banking institutions. African banks are well capitalized by international standards but can play an even bigger role in driving growth and assisting small businesses. I am confident, with the talent on show here tonight, that they will rise to this challenge.”
The African Banker Awards is organised by African Banker magazine and IC Events. It is a landmark event taking place every year during the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings.The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC on Friday, 8th October, and brought together over 300 key industry players and top government officials from Africa and around the world to honour the achievements of companies and individuals who have contributed significantly to the reform, modernisation and expansion of the continent’s banking and financial system, driving Africa’s sustained economic growth in the process.
The African Banker Awards 2010 are sponsored by the Ecobank Nedbank Alliance, Afrexim Bank, BIAT, Bank of Industry and Fitch Ratings. It is supported by the private sector operations of the African Development Bank. It is co-organised by Business in Africa Events and local partner the US-based Corporate Council of Africa (CCA).
In attendance from Nigeria was the CBN governor, Mallam Sanusi and CEOs of about 15 banks including First Bank, Bank ABC, Standard Bank SA, Adote Peterside from Stanbic IBTC, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Arnold Ekpe Ecobank, CEO Nedbank SA, Min of Finance of Uganda. A total of 300 people were in attendance.