Ecobank, FBNQuest Merchant Bank winners too
Nigerian banker and group chief executive officer of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, has been named African Banker of the Year at the 2021 African Banker awards.
It was the second consecutive year the Access Bank CEO was winning the award, having been named winner in 2020.
Wigwe clinched the prestigious award ahead of a crack short list of other distinguished African bank CEOs which included Ade Adeyemi of Ecobank and Kennedy Uzoka of United Bank for Africa (UBA).
The award comes just days after Access Bank completed the acquisition of South Africa’s Grobank leading to the establishment of a full subsidiary in that country and making the largest Nigerian lender, one of the largest retail banks in Africa with over 40 million customers following the implementation of a rapid growth strategy over the last decade.
On the same night, Nigeria’s FBNQuest Merchant Bank emerged as the winner of the equity deal of the year on the back of its role in the privatisation of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd, while Ecobank was named the African SME Bank of the year.
The African Banker 2021 awards were held virtually during the annual meetings of the African Development Bank, high patron of the event. The award has become the most respected and recognised industry event celebrating African banking achievements.
Omar Ben Yedder, group p[ublisher of African Banker magazine, speaking at the event, said: “I was really impressed by the entries this year. It showed that the banking sector is healthy and resilient which will be critical if it is to support the economic recovery post-COVID. What will be fundamental to our recovery is the support of the real economy, especially SMEs, and also a focus on more equity investments and investments in general. For that, as our African Banker icon suggested, we will also need to increase our savings rate across the continent.
“If I had one comment on the winners, it was dominated by men this year. However, I should add that the institutions that were recognised in our ceremony all had strong gender programmes, both in terms of supporting women-led businesses but also strong programmes to promote women and have women leaders within their organisations,” Yedder said.
Others who were shortlisted for the category, African Banker of the Year, include Admassu Tadesse of Trade and Development Bank; Brehima Amadou Haidara of Banque de Développement du Mali (the Development Bank of Mali); James Mwangi of Equity Group Holdings Plc; and João Figueiredo of the MozaBanco among other nominees.