|Accra, Ghana – Last night the 16th edition of the African Banker Awards Gala Ceremony took place at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra, Ghana. The event was held under the High Patronage of the African Development Bank, being part of the programme of the Bank’s Annual Meetings. Over 300 banking and financial services professionals joined the Gala Ceremony to discover the winners of the African Banker Awards 2022.
Two women won two of the most prestigious awards: the African Banker Icon and Finance Minister of the Year.
Ms Vera Songwe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, was awarded the African Banker Icon Award for her tireless work in providing governments with the fiscal ammunition to deal with the impact of COVID-19.
“It really was a moment to demonstrate that Africa is resilient. I came to the table with an understanding of the menu of solutions because in 2008 I was on the other side [of the table] when SDRs were handed out to European economies [to stave off a financial crisis] … What we are focusing on at the ECA is prosperity. The ingredients are there for success; there is latent innovation; what we need to do is provide the infrastructure; the soft infrastructure, the hard infrastructure and the human capital to deliver the end game which is jobs, prosperity and a better life for all.” Ms Songwe said in her acceptance speech.
Angola’s Finance Minister, Hon Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa, was recognised as the Finance Minister of the Year for her stand-out work in restoring stability and market confidence to her country.
Another notable recognition was for Michael Atingi-Ego, the Deputy Central Bank Governor, Uganda, who won Central Bank Governor of the Year. Earlier this year, his predecessor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Ugandan economist and Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda, passed away, leaving a void which will not be easily filled. However, the Central Bank of Uganda was one of the star performers this year, having managed to stave off inflation and achieve currency stability in an extremely challenging environment.
In his speech, Omar Ben Yedder, Chair of the African Banker Awards Organising Committee and Publisher of African Banker magazine, said that it is time we focused our efforts on strengthening our domestic capabilities to finance growth. "We need strong institutions and we need to start with our commercial and development banks. If we have learnt anything from the past two years, and even more so these last two months, it is that we need to achieve financial sovereignty if we are to own our growth agenda."
Other winners include legendary Nigerian banker Atedo Peterside, founder of IBTC Bank, which he merged with Stanbic 15 years ago, who won Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to banking. The success of IBTC, he said, was built on everyone buying into the mission of the bank and shared values and culture.
Benedict Oramah won African Banker of the Year for his work in growing Afreximbank's balance sheet and making it one of the leading banks in terms of its response to Covid-19 by providing much needed liquidity and solutions when it came to vaccine acquisition, as well as its lead role in helping create the conditions so that businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA once all negotiations are finalised.
The winner of the African Bank of the Year, for the second year running, was awarded to the Standard Bank Group, the continent’s largest bank by assets and also by tier one capital.
This year the Awards were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, Bank of Industry (Nigeria) and the Trade Development Bank as well as Access Bank. The Award Patron is the African Development Bank, whose annual meetings conclude tomorrow and who celebrates this year 50 years of the African Development Fund, which is undergoing a new replenishment round.
WINNERS OF THE AFRICAN BANKER AWARDS 2022