The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, was on Wednesday, 23 June, 2021 named the African Banker of the Year.
Wigwe is winning the award, organised by the highly influential magazine, the African Banker, for the second consecutive year.
The award ceremony took place virtually in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
“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 organisers of the award said.
Similarly, the Standard Bank Group was 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.
The 2021 virtual event featured performances by African diva Angelique Kidjo and Adina, a Ghanaian-South African singer.
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
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
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
Central Bank Governor of the Year
H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa
African Bank of the Year
Standard Bank Group
African Banker of the Year
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank