Ahmed, Wigwe, Abel, Shobo, Others Emerge Winners at 2020 African Banker Awards

A file photo of the African Banker Awards 2018, which held in Busan, South Korea.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Access Bank’s Group Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe; Governor, Central Bank of Seychelles, Caroline Abel; former Chief Executive Officer of Agusto & Co., Vivien Shobo; among others have emerged winners of the 2020 Edition of the African Banker Awards announced Wednesday at a virtual Awards ceremony on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Annual Meetings ongoing in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The Awards are considered the Oscars of the African banking community and given the impartial selection and judging process, the Awards have been adjudged to be the most respected in the field.


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Wigwe won this year’s African Banker of the Year. The financial institution is ranked as one of Africa’s top-tier banks and Wigwe has been at the helm of the bank’s growth and expansion, including the oversight of the takeover of Diamond Bank, a bank that was much bigger than Access Bank less than 15 years ago.

Access Bank also won Agriculture Deal of the Year, as a result of its singular role to help Olam develop rice operations in Nigeria.

The Central Bank Governor of the Year went to Abel from Seychelles, while the Finance Minister of the Year went to Ahmed.

The organisers noted that despite difficult circumstances Nigeria’s Minister of Finance had managed to push through a set of difficult reforms as well as successfully engaging international partners to help the country navigate an extremely challenging economic environment.

Tunisian businessman and financier, Ahmed Abdelkefi, won the Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s the founder of numerous businesses operating in leasing, brokerage and investment banking. He also founded private equity group, Tuninvest, and then launched Africinvest, without doubt one of Africa’s most successful Africa-owned PE firms.


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Trade and Development Bank (TDB) won Bank of the Year. Incidentally, its CEO, Admassu Tadesse, won Banker of the Year at last year’s ceremony.

The organisers added a number of awards this year to reflect the African Development Bank’s High Fives Agenda.

The Energy Deal of the Year went to a renewable energy bond structured by Nedbank and Infrastructure Deal of the Year went to the Port of Maputo in a transaction led by Standard Bank. The SME Bank of the Year went to Nigeria’s Bank of Industry.

Other awards include: Investment Bank of the Year won by Citi; Award for Financial Inclusion went to Kenya Women Microfinance; Socially Responsible Bank of the Year was grabbed by Equity Bank of Kenya; Innovation in Banking went to Ecobank; Deal of the Year (Equity) was won by MTN Nigeria IPO – Chapel Hill Denham; and Deal of the Year (Debt) went to Bank of Industry €1 billion syndicated senior loan facility – Bank of Industry/Afreximbank/Credit Suisse.

Regional Bank of the Year Awards went to Equity Bank (East Africa); Coris (West Africa); CIB, Egypt (North Africa); Moza Banco (Southern Africa); and BGFI, Gabon (Central Africa).

Speaking on this year’s awards, Publisher of African Banker Magazine, Omar Ben Yedder, said: “It’s been a momentous year in every sense. Banks will have to play a lead role in kick-starting post-COVID-19 growth and sustaining the real economy.

“Governments and regulators have done an excellent job with limited means and both our winners Caroline Abel and Zainab Ahmed have demonstrated strong leadership there.


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“Banks will need to work with institutions and partners to ensure liquidity doesn’t dry up. To quote our Lifetime Achievement Winner: Keep moving forward: adapt, innovate, take risks. That’s your job. Today’s crisis is neither the first and it will not be the last.”

The awards, which were held under the high patronage of the African Development Bank, were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund as Platinum Sponsor, the Bank of Industry as Gold Sponsor and Moza Banco as Associate Sponsor.

African Banker is a quarterly magazine dedicated to banking and finance in Africa. It taps into the growing demand for information about Africa’s banking and financial world, a sector that is consolidating rapidly and reshaping the economy of the continent.

Idowu Sowunmi