African Banker Awards announces 2023 winners

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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

The African Banker Awards 2023 Gala Ceremony, the most prestigious event in the African banking calendar, took place last night at the Rixos Hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, 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. 

Highlights from the ceremony:

Esther Kariuki becomes the second woman to win African Banker of the Year Award

Perhaps one of the most coveted prizes of the evening, the African Banker of the Year prize was awarded to Esther Kariuki, Head of Agriculture Business at the Co-op Bank of Kenya. 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. 

Afreximbank scores a brace at African Banker Awards 2023

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) won two prestigious awards in Sharm El Sheikh, in recognition of its growing leadership within Africa’s financial services sector. The Cairo-based 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.

Mauritius’ Harvesh Seegolam wins Central Bank Governor of the Year

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.

“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. 

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.

Full list of winners:

Banker of the Year

Ms Esther Kariuki, Co-operative Bank of Kenya

Bank of the Year

Afreximbank

African Banker Icon

Miguel Azevedo, Citi

Lifetime Achievement

Mr. Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Commercial International Bank

Central Bank Governor of the Year

Harvesh Seegolam, Bank of Mauritius

Minister of Finance of the Year

Hon. Enoch Godongwana, South Africa

Sustainable Bank of the Year

Nedbank, South Africa

DFI of the Year

Afreximbank

Fintech of the Year

MFS Africa

SME Bank of the Year

La Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations – CDC

Deal of the Year – Debt

Harmony Gold Company syndicated multi-tranche, multi-currency, loan facility of US$400m and R4bn – Absa & Nedbank

Deal of the Year – Equity

US$298m Infinity Energy equity investment and Lekela Power acquisition – Africa Finance Corporation

Deal of the Year – Agriculture

US$78m funding facility for the Southern Oil Structured Commodity Finance Transaction – Absa

Deal of the Year – Infrastructure

US$900m debt funding facility for Scatec Solar PV plus Battery Storage Project – Standard Bank

Regional Bank of the Year – North

Bank of Africa

Regional Bank of the Year – Southern

Zambia National Commercial Bank (Zanaco)

Regional Bank of the Year – East

CRDB Bank

Regional Bank of the Year – Central

Trust Merchant Bank

Regional Bank of the Year – West

Vista Bank

AFAWA Bank of the Year Award

Letshego, Nigeria

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