African Banker Awards – Press Release

Morocco’s Groupe Banque Populaire triumphs as this year’s African Bank of the Year, while Ghana’s Albert Essien, Group CEO of Ecobank wins the award for African Banker of the Year. Ivorian Tidjane Thiam, the first black CEO of a FTSE100 company and Nigerian Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank win in the African Banker Icon […]


Morocco’s Groupe Banque Populaire triumphs as this year’s African Bank of the Year, while Ghana’s Albert Essien, Group CEO of Ecobank wins the award for African Banker of the Year. Ivorian Tidjane Thiam, the first black CEO of a FTSE100 company and Nigerian Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank win in the African Banker Icon and Lifetime Achievement categories, respectively. In the African Bank of the Year category, Groupe Banque Populaire beat stiff competition from four shortlisted nominees to win the coveted title. Groupe Banque Populaire is one of the most important financial services groups in Morocco. It has recently taken a major stake in West African group Banque Atlantique and helped to turn around its performance significantly.

Veteran Banker, Albert Essien from Ghana was awarded the African Banker of the Year prize. He inherited a bank in a precarious position last year, but has managed to steady the ship and bring in some important shareholders to strengthen Ecobank’s capital base.

The incoming CEO of Swiss Bank, Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam was honoured with this year’s African Banker Icon award. Thiam is one of Africa’s global leaders, the first black head of the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, as well as a former Minister of Finance of his country Côte d’Ivoire.

Alongside him, the Lifetime Achievement award was presented to the outstanding leader and entrepreneur Jim Ovia, founder and chairman of Zenith Bank, Nigeria, which is one of the country’s best performing banks.

The ninth edition of the African Banker Awards, hosted by African Banker magazine were held at a prestigious Gala dinner in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on 27th May, with over 500 dignitaries in attendance. Among them were a number of African Ministers of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, along with the CEOs of some of Africa’s leading Banks and financial institutions.

Abidjan was host to the African Development Bank annual meetings. It is a historic year for many reasons. This is the first annual meeting since the Bank returned to its Headquarters, the year of the AfDB’s 50th anniversary and also the meeting that will see the election of a new Bank President, as Dr Donald Kaberuka finishes his second term.

This year’s ceremony was hosted by MasterCard International. Speaking at the event, MasterCard’s Division President for Sub-Saharan Africa, Daniel Monehin said: “We believe that the African Banker Awards understands precisely what excellence in banking means – one only has to consider the Award winners and nominees tonight. This is why we are proud to support these Awards, where we recognize and commemorate our banking colleagues who have, in the last year, provided us with outstanding examples of progress towards our shared goal of banking excellence.”

Ecobank/Nedbank, Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique au Congo (BIAC), Banque Altantique, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire, GT Bank and Coris Bank International also supported the Awards, along with ECAir, Sopra Banking Software and Travelex.

Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker thanked the sponsors and the judging panel which this year included Ade Adebajo, Consultant, Debt Capital Markets – Africa; Koosum Kalyan, Chairman, EdgoMerap Pty Ltd; Tom Minney, Editor, African Capital Markets News – African Growth Partners Ltd; Alain le Noir, CEO – Finances Sans Frontières; Zemedeneh Negatu, Managing Partner – Ernst & Young Ethiopia; Michel Losembe, President – Congolese Association of Banks; Paul Derreumaux Honorary President – Bank of Africa Group and Christopher Hartland – Peel, Principal – Hartland-Peel Africa Equity Research.

“We have a fantastic crop of winners once again and they are widespread in terms of  countries. East Africa won two coveted awards: the Minister of Finance and Central Bank Governor categories for Rwanda and Kenya, respectively. Morocco had a strong showing with four awards. Mozambique did well winning two awards in the most innovative bank and  best bank in Southern Africa categories.  It is great to see banks and financiers rise to the challenge to keep innovating and having a positive impact on Africa’s growth. The growth story will depend on a strong and resilient banking system, one that is both bold and responsible. We see plenty of these qualities amongst our winners tonight.”

Here is the full list of winners:

African Bank of the Year

Groupe Banque Populaire



African Banker of the Year

Albert Essien, Group CEO Ecobank (ETI)


Lifetime Achievement Award

Jim Ovia 

Chairman, Zenith Bank



Finance Minister of the Year

Hon. Claver Gatete



Central Bank Governor of the Year

Prof Njuguna Ndung’u



African Banker Icon

Tidjane Thiam

Former Finance Minister of Cote d’Ivoire and CEO of Prudential


Best Regional Banks in Africa

Best Bank in North Africa

Attijariwafa Bank



Best Bank in West Africa



Best Bank in Central Africa

Groupe BGFI Bank



Best Bank in East Africa

Bank of Kigali



Best Bank in Southern Africa

Banco de Comercio e Investimentos



Best Retail Bank in Africa

Standard Bank

South Africa


Investment Bank of the Year

Rand Merchant Bank

South Africa


Award for Innovation in Banking

Millennium BIM



Socially Responsible Bank of the Year




Award for Financial Inclusion

Fondation Attawfik



Deal of the Year – Equity

Seplat IPO

(Standard Bank)


Deal of the Year – Debt

$850m Commercial and ECA Backed Financing Package for the Ethiopian Railways Corporation

 (Credit Suisse)


Trade Finance Deal of the Year

$1.3bn Petroleum Export Limited Syndicated Pre-export Facility

Commercial International Bank (CIB), Egypt


Infrastructure Deal of the Year


Africa Finance Corporation, Nigeria


Best Islamic Finance Initiative

Senegal Sukuk

Citi and ICD




Note to Editors

For further information on the awards, please visit:


For media relations, please contact: [email protected]


About the African Banker Awards

The African Banker Awards are organised by the African Banker magazine and Business in Africa Events as part of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank. They are designed to celebrate excellence in Africa’s banking and financial services sector.

About the African Banker Magazine

African Banker (www.africanbankermagazine) is the only pan-African magazine dedicated to banking in the continent. Launched in 2007, African Banker reflects Africa’s rapidly growing finance and banking sectors. African Banker is published in French and in English to comprehensively cover the entire continent. It has become an essential tool of the people and institutions that pull the strings in Africa’s banking and finance industries. In line with its commitment to banking in Africa, African Banker organises the African Banker Awards to reward the people and financial institutions that are making a big impact on improving the banking industry in Africa.


About IC Events – IC Publications

IC Publications ( has over 50 years’ experience in publishing magazines, newsletters, country supplements, industry reports and market intelligence on Africa. Our market-leading titles (African Business, African Banker, New African, and New African Woman) are published in both English and French, with a combined global readership of over 2 million.

IC Events ( was established to complement IC Publication’s publishing arm. Together with its dedicated team of specialists and extensive network of contacts, IC Events tailors innovative forums, roundtables and workshops responding to the most pressing issues in Africa. IC Events’ activities are 100% results-driven, bringing together major stakeholders and partners involved in the topics tackled to achieve concrete action plans.

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