Herbert Wigwe, Lesetja Kganyago Others Bag 2021 Africa Banker Awards


Thursday, June 24, 2021 / 5:36 AM / African Banker Awards / Header Image Credit: Ecographics

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Mr Herbert Wigwe the CEO of Access Bank and Mr Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa both bagged recognitions at the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards.


Wigwe for the second consecutive year emerged the African Banker of the year, with Access Bank now present in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank. As a result of its rapid growth over the last decade, Access Bank has become one of the largest retail banks in Africa with over 40 million customers.


Mr Kganyago was recognized as Africa's Central Bank Governor of the year. The organisers noted that under Kganyago's leadership, the Reserve Bank has managed to act decisively but also, the Committee noted, in a measured way, managing both upside and downside risk. 

Morocco's Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaâboun, won the recognition of Finance Minister of the Year. Benchaaboun was recognised for the exceptional work of his ministry which coordinated an exemplary response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, helping to protect both lives and livelihoods. The fiscal stimulus provided cushioned the impact of the pandemic on the country's economy. The ministry managed to pull in both public and private sector resources to support the neediest of Moroccan society. 


Felix Bikpo earned the Life Achievement Award for his long and distinguished career. When asked for his outlook on the future of the continent, he remained upbeat saying technological developments and also the human capabilities that we have developed in Africa are cause for optimism.

The chief economist at the international investment bank Renaissance Capital, Charlie Robertson, won the African Banker icon category. In his remarks, he noted that it was important to drive up savings rates to help spur greater investments on the continent if Africa is to replicate the Asian miracle.


Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher of African Banker said: "I was impressed by the entries this year. It showed that the banking sector is healthy and resilient which will be critical if it is to support the economic recovery post-COVID. What will be fundamental to our recovery is the support of the real economy, especially SMEs, and also a focus on more equity investments and investments in general. For that, as our African Banker Icon suggested, we will also need to increase our savings rate across the continent. If I had one comment on the winners, it was dominated by men this year. However, I should add that the institutions that were recognised in our ceremony all had strong gender programmes, both in terms of supporting women-led businesses but also strong programmes to promote women and have women leaders within their organisations."

This year the Awards were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Banque du Developpement du Mali and technology partner TagPay.

Below are the 2021 African Banker Award Winners:

Sustainable bank of the year
Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt

Infrastructure deal of the year
Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility
 Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB

Deal of the year - Equity
Privatisation of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd

Deal of the year - Debt
African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility
MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Award for financial inclusion
Trust Merchant Bank, DRC

African Banker Icon
Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital

Finance Minister of the year
H.E Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco

Award for Innovation for Financial Services
Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme

Energy deal of the year
Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)

Agriculture deal of the year
USD 400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)

African SME Bank of the Year

Best Regional Bank in Africa
North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco
West: Banque de Developpement du Mali
East: Equity Bank, Kenya
Central: BGFI, Gabon
Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique

Investment Bank of the Year

Central Bank Governor of the Year
H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa

Lifetime Achievement
Felix Bikpo

African Bank of the Year
Standard Bank Group

African Banker of the Year
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, 
Access Bank

For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit: www.africanbankerawards.com

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