Two leading African development finance institutions led the pack at this week’s African Banker Awards. Bank of the Year 2019 goes to Afreximbank, making giant steps in growing profitable operations in financing and promoting trade within and from African and launching many key new products in the past 18 months.
African Banker of the Year is Admassu Tadesse, President of Trade and Development Bank and from Ethiopia. The bank – formerly PTA Bank – has been expanding its operations in East and Southern Africa and launched many new products.
The African Banker Awards spotlight and celebrate excellence in banking and finance in Africa. The 2019 winners were announced at a prestigious gala dinner in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on the fringe of the annual meeting of the African Development Bank.
“I am very honoured to be a judge. It’s exciting to read the submissions about many top-quality African institutions and excellent leaders. Its very hard to choose winners from many inspiring entries, including giant investments and transactions that are transformational for African economies.” Tom
South African banks dominated in tightly-contested investment banking and in the deals of the year. Absa won investment bank of the year; Standard Bank and RMB won the equity deal of the year with the VIVO Energy’s £548m ($742m) IPO in London (see our story); debt deal of the year went to Rothschild & Co for Senegal’s dual-currency Eurobond ($1bn and €1bn); and infrastructure deal of the year went to Credit Agricole and TDB which financed a floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) platform in Mozambique.
In other categories: Ecobank won retail bank of the year; Kenya’s KCB won the prize for innovation; Equity Bank for its CSR activities; and Nigeria’s Bank of Industry won the prize for financial inclusion.
Overall there were excellent winners from most African regions in 2019. Organizers and the 2 main sponsors of the awards, the African Guarantee Fund and the Bank of Industry, called to make banking more inclusive, both in gender representation among senior managers and through lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The 2019 lifetime achievement award went to South African Sizwe Nxasana, former CEO of First Rand group, which grew at a compound annual growth rate of 20% under his leadership. In his speech, Nxasana called for even greater investment in human capital to accelerate growth in Africa. The African Banker Icon award was for Mitchell Elegbe, founder of Interswitch, the payments service provider another Africa-led “unicorn”, a tech start-up business whose value is likely to exceed $1bn (see our story).
Tarek Amer, Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, won Central Bank Governor of the Year for his work in restoring faith in Egypt’s markets, helping make it one of the best-performing emerging markets. Benin’s Romuald Wadagni won Finance Minister of the Year, after big improvements to macro-economic indicators and structural transformation reforms.
Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker magazine, said: “2018 was another strong year for banks. Undoubtedly fintech was the most buoyant sector in terms of tech investments and we are yet to truly see the transformative impact it can have. Despite the positive stories from the banking sector, the words of the winner of our Banker of the Year still resonate when he said last year at the Africa Investment Forum: we need to speed up, scale up and synergize. ”
THE 2019 AFRICAN BANKER AWARD WINNERS
African Banker of the Year
Admassu Tadesse, TDB
Lifetime Achievement Award
Sizwe Nxasana, former CEO, First Rand Group
African Banker Icon
Mitchell Elegbe, Founder, Interswitch Group
African Bank of the Year
Minister of Finance of the Year
Romuald Wadagni, République du Benin
Central Bank Governor of the Year
Tarek Amer, Central Bank Governor, Egypt
Best Retail Bank in Africa
Investment Bank of the Year
Award for Financial Inclusion
Bank of Industry, Nigeria
Special Commendation for their contribution to the development and financing of the Rural Sector: Banco Nacional de Guinea Ecuatorial (BANGE)
Socially Responsible Bank of the Year
Equity Bank, Kenya
Innovation in Banking
Special Commendation: JUMO, South Africa
Deal of the Year – Equity
Standard Bank & Rand Merchant Bank (South Africa)
Deal of the Year – Debt
$2.2bn Senegal Eurobond
Infrastructure Deal of the Year
Mozambique Floating LNG
TDB & Credit Agricole
Regional Bank of the Year
East Africa – KCB, Kenya
West Africa – Orabank
North Africa – Banque de l’Habitat (Tunisia)
Southern Africa – Mauritius Commercial Bank
Central Africa – BGFI, Gabon