African Banker Awards lauds winners’ innovation and resilience

African Banker Awards lauds winners’ innovation and resilience

Standard Bank Group, Africa’s biggest bank, recognized for its role in fighting Covid-19 and empowering women

Standard Bank Group was on Wednesday named African Bank of the Year by a leading publication in recognition of the banking giant’s achievements in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and empowering women.

African Banker magazine announced the winners of its 2021 Awards at a virtual ceremony held on the side-lines of the African Development Bank’s 2021 Annual Meetings. The African Development Bank is a high patron of the event.

The 2021 virtual event featured performances by African diva Angelique Kidjo and Adina, a Ghanaian-South African singer.

The award for African Banker of the Year went, for the second consecutive year, to Hebert Wigwe, Managing Director and co-founder of Access Bank Group, which has grown rapidly to become one of the largest retail banks in Africa over the last decade, with over 40 million customers.

The 2021 edition of the awards set out to recognize institutions that have contributed to women’s empowerment on the continent and to the real economy, which has suffered from the impact of Covid-19.

Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaâboun, was named Finance Minister of the Year in recognition of his ministry’s exemplary response to the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher of African Banker, commended the banking sector for its responsiveness to clients’ needs, and for setting up gender programs, supporting women-led businesses and promoting women within their organizations.

“Fintechs are really the flavor of the year and we’ve seen plenty of money from venture capital, from private equity wealth, going into the fintech space in Egypt, Kenya and in Nigeria, and to some extent crypto and blockchain, although those are at very early stages,” Ben Yedder said.

The continued strength and resilience of the banking sector would be critical to support economic recovery from the pandemic across Africa, he said.

Complete list of 2021 African Banker Award winners:

  • Sustainable bank of the year: Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt
  • Infrastructure deal of the year: Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility ( Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB)
  • Deal of the year – Equity: Privatization of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd (FBNQuest)
  • Deal of the year – Debt : African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility (MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group)
  • Award for financial inclusion: Trust Merchant Bank, DRC
  • African Banker Icon: Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital
  • Finance Minister of the year: H.E Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco
  • Award for Innovation for Financial Services: Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme
  • Energy deal of the year: Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi (African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)
  • Agriculture deal of the year: $400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group (African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
  • African SME Bank of the Year : Ecobank
  • Best Regional Bank in Africa:

North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco

West: Banque de Développement du Mali

East: Equity Bank, Kenya

Central: BGFI, Gabon

Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique

  • Investment Bank of the Year: ABSA
  • Central Bank Governor of the Year: H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa
  • Lifetime Achievement: Felix Bikpo
  • African Bank of the Year: Standard Bank Group
  • African Banker of the Year: Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank

For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit:


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