Bankers from Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Malawi, representing North, South, East, West and Central Africa, took home awards from the African Banker Awards 2008 in Washington, D.C on Friday, 10 October 2008.
The African Banker of the Year award went to Dr Tony Elumelu, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, the African Bank of the Year award went to Intercontinental Bank Plc, Nigeria and the Lifetime Achievement award was presented to one of the pioneers of African banking, Otunba Dr Michael Balogun the founder of the First City Merchant Bank (FCMB) Nigeria.
The event, hosted by the London-based IC Publications Ltd, publishers of African Banker
magazine, was held on the eve of the World Bank's critical global discussions on the state of the world's financial systems. “For once we can say the world can learn from Africa,” said Chukwuma Soludo, the governor of the Nigerian Central Bank. Thanks to root-and-branch reforms and tight regulatory regimes, Africa's banking sector has grown by over 28% over the past year and continues to grow despite the global financial crisis.
Over 350 people, including Africa's finance ministers, governors of central banks, financial market regulators, global media personalities, industry leaders and top bankers attended the ceremony.
A total of 17 awards were presented at the grand ceremony, which was endorsed by the World Bank and supported by the Corporate Council on Africa and African Development Bank. Sponsors included the Renaissance Group, 3i Infotech, Ecobank, Virgin Nigeria Airways and the Bank of Industry, Nigeria.
Afif Ben Yedder, group chairman of IC Publications, told the audience: “There are great investment opportunities in many sectors in Africa today as the growth of the continent's economy continues to be the fastest in the world.”
Otunba Dr Michael Balogun, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, recounted that when he wanted to set up his own merchant bank in Nigeria, he was not allowed to do so unless he had a technical partner from the West: “It is quite staggering to think how far we have come from those dark days,” he said.
Associate publisher Omar Ben Yedder remarked: “Today it is the banks which are realising the pan-African vision of regional integration. The Africa of today is building world class institutions managed by great African business leaders.”
Christian Udechukwu, managing director, BusinessinAfrica Events announced that the 3rd African Banker Awards will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, to coincide with the IMF/World Bank Annual meeting next year.
African Banker Awards Winners 2008
- Microfinance Bank of the Year - Equity Bank, Kenya
- Deal of the Year - Standard Bank, South Africa
- Best Issuing House - Stanbic IBTC, South Africa
- Mortgage Bank of the Year - Banque de l'Habitat, Tunisia
- Award for Gender Sensitivity - Nedbank, South Africa
- Banking Regulator of the Year - Clive Pillay, South Africa Ombudsman
- Lifetime Achievement Award - Otunba Dr Michael Balogun, First City Merchant Bank (FCMB) Nigeria
- Best Development Bank in Africa - Development Bank of Southern Africa
- Investment Fund/Private Equity Fund of the Year - ECP Africa Fund
- Most Innovative Bank - Ecobank Transnational
- Investment Bank of the Year - Renaissance Capital
- Socially Responsible Bank of the Year - Fidelity, Nigeria
- Best Global Bank in Africa - Zenith Bank, Nigeria
- Central Bank Governor of the Year - Paul Acquah, Ghana
- Finance Minister of the Year - Goodall Gondwei, Finance Minister, Malawi
- African Banker of the Year - Dr Tony Elumelu, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Nigeria
- African Bank of the Year - Intercontinental Bank Plc, Nigeria