Special Recognition Award
President Paul Kagame
The leadership of Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, has been crucial to Rwanda’s political, economic and social transformation from the aftermath of genocide into an African leader in gender equality and agriculture, ICT and financial services.
In recent years, Rwanda has achieved a sovereign listing, a new stock exchange, and major investment in banking and insurance. But it is not only the strength of President Kagame’s public policies, but also his ‘Ubuntu’, that essential humanity crucial to fostering the country’s reconciliation, that has set a powerful benchmark of excellence for future generations of leaders to follow.
Receiving the award, President Kagame said that he was accepting it on behalf of all Rwandans “who have worked very hard and sacrificed so much to get us to where were are today”. He added that while the award was a very welcome endorsement, it also underlined the necessity to not only maintain the standards the country had set itself but also to keep on improving.
Elizabeth Mary Okelo
Elizabeth Mary Okelo has won huge respect in her native Kenya and beyond. Perhaps best known for her work at the Makini School in Nairobi, she spent a lifetime in financial services, making her name at Barclays, where she became the first female bank manager in her country, Kenya.
She played a key role in paving the way for female bankers, putting her position on the line by encouraging her bank to issue loans to women, a highly controversial move at the time.
Later, she founded the Kenya Women Finance Trust, Kenya’s largest microfinance enterprise, helping women to get better access to finance, and mentoring young women to help them reach their full potential.
Her career took her to the African Development Bank, where she was an advisor to the president and today she is still actively championing entrepreneurship with a particular emphasis on women.
African Banker of the Year
Vivienne Yeda, Director General, East African Development Bank
Vivienne Yeda is a banker and international business lawyer with over 20 years practical and comprehensive development banking, finance and business experience in Africa.
She has worked in the financial sector developing projects in banking and finance in several African countries and has experience in strategic management, business operations and project management, leading multicultural and multi-skilled teams.
She has been Director-General of the East African Development Bank since 2009 and a non-executive director of the Central Bank of Kenya since 2011.
She has negotiated and structured facilities for sovereign borrowers including governments, central banks and regional economic communities and undertaken a number of projects with private sector borrowers.
African Banker Icon
Andrew Alli, CEO, Africa Finance Corporation
As President and CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation since 2008, Andrew Alli is helping to change the African landscape by creating an infrastructure investment bank which is successfully putting African infrastructure investment on the map.
Established in 2007, AFC is a private sector-led investment bank and development finance institution, created to help mobilise and channel required capital towards driving Africa’s economic development.
In 2013, Andrew Alli led his institution through another landmark year of high returns and improved shareholder value. Not only that, but he is helping to make infrastructure investment a true asset class in itself.
Before joining AFC, Andrew was Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Travant Capital, a private equity fund based in Nigeria, and Country Manager for both Nigeria and Southern Africa for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group.
Central Bank Governor of the Year
Linah Mohohlo, Botswana
Linah Mohohlo, the chairperson and governor of Botswana’s central bank since 1999, helped lead her country through the difficult period of the global financial crisis, stabilising the economy and currency, and maintaining Botswana’s reputation for probity and transparency at home and abroad.
Her vision encompassed inviting ratings agencies into the country, enhancing Botswana’s international reputation as a well-governed nation and leading to an investment-grade sovereign credit rating.
She first joined the Bank of Botswana in 1976 and has also worked for the IMF in the African and the Monetary and Exchange Affairs Departments. As well as being a member of the inaugural Botswana Economic and Advisory Council, she serves on boards of major corporations in Botswana and abroad.
Among her key appointments is that of Eminent Person in 2002 by the former Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, charged with overseeing the evaluation of the UN’s New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s.
She was also a member of the Commission for Africa chaired by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
She is currently a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Committee on Financial Services for the Poor and a member of the Africa Progress Panel.
Among the national and international awards she has received is Botswana’s highest public service award for efficient and devoted service, the Presidential Order of Honour.Finance Minister of the Year Armando Manuel, Angola, Angola’s Finance Minister Armando Manuel, represents the new breed of younger leaders who are hungry to get things done. He has continued the work of his predecessor by ensuring steady economic growth while keeping inflation low, and concentrating on two areas: diversification of the economy and transforming the financial services sector.
He has served as the Secretary for Economic Affairs of the President and showed vision and leadership as the Chairman of the Angola Sovereign Wealth Fund. He is committed to capacity building, transparency and governance, which is blazing a trail in Angola and across the entire continent.