Strong players vie for 2020 African Banker Awards

The list of nominees for this year's African Banker awards reflects the breadth and depth of the work of financial institutions on the continent and the strength of the sector during this crisis


The African Banker Awards are traditionally held during the AfDB’s annual meetings, usually in May. Both have now been pushed back to  the end of August due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the award presentations will be held virtually on the 26th. The list of nominees reflects the breadth and depth of the work of financial institutions on the continent and the strength of the sector during this crisis.

The entries for this year’s African Banker Awards have been the most diverse to date – see the full list at the end of this article. The Deals of the Year categories always give a good insight in terms of what is happening on the debt and equity front – offering a good gauge of the size and complexity of deals taking place as well as showing how they are received by the international community.

The last year has seen some interesting developments. The Africa Finance Corporation went to the capital markets twice in 2019 with Bank of America, raising $650m and $500m respectively. The infrastructure specialists also managed to raise a further $140m ‘Kimchi bond’, the first-ever Korea-focused syndication for an African borrower.

In February, the Bank of Industry, a longstanding supporter of the African Banker Awards, raised a €1bn syndicated loan facility. This is the second time in three years that it has decided to access financial markets. This transaction will come in handy during this time of crisis as the bank provides medium to long tenured loans at relatively low interest rates to the ‘real’ economy.

The government of Ghana was also active in capital markets during the first quarter of this year. The timing was somewhat fortuitous coming just before the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic. As a result it managed to raise, at attractive prices, $3bn through a triple-tranche offering, $1.25bn at 6.375% due in February 2027, $1bn at 7.875 due in February 2035 and $750m at 8.75% due in March 2061. 

We added new categories to the Awards this year to mirror the African Development Bank’s High Fives. For the Infrastructure category representing the AfDB’s ‘Integrating Africa’ goal, there was a great diversity of entries. Transport and logistics were well represented through the Nouakchott Port modernisation project. The first phase of the project will cost $310m.

The 30-year PPP concession is being developed with Arise, an infrastructure and logistics solution company that started in Gabon, and Meridiam, an infrastructure developer, investor and asset manager. On the eastern African coast, the Tanzania Railway Corporation’s  202km standard gauge railway project between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro is also shortlisted.

Energy has traditionally attracted a lot of interest from the banks due to the size of the financing requirements and their complexity – in fact, this time Energy Deals have been allocated their own category. West African giant Oragroup was involved in a syndicated facility to the French energy group Eranove for a 65MW power plant in Togo.

One of the bigger projects on the continent is the $2.9bn Rufiji River dam and hydropower plant in Tanzania, which involves a number of African actors including Afreximbank and CRDB Bank on the financing and the Egyptian groups, Elsewedy and Arab Contractors on the construction side. It will be the fourth-largest dam in Africa and 60th-biggest globally.

The Agriculture category attracted a good variety of entries. One interesting project features a $3.7m facility from Equity bank for the production of French beans in Kenya for export markets.

In addition, the Kenya Women Microfinance Bank, alongside USAID, have disbursed around $4m to local horticulture farmers and for livestock and dairy value chains in 17 counties across the country.

At the other end of the scale, Access Bank provided Olam with $27.8m to finance the expansion of Olam Nigeria’s rice farm by 2,581 hectares to 6,932 hectares. The finance will be used for the construction of irrigation systems, the balancing of dams and the construction of 54km of roads to serve the six communities within the farm location.

Green bonds gain prominence

One product has really come of age – green bonds feature prominently this year and are bound to become an instrument that African corporates and sovereigns will use extensively, especially with the rise of ESG-related funds.

The new issuances have laid the ground for others by creating a precedent and highlighting the technical and regulatory requirements that need to be overcome. They will also encourage developers to add social and environmental considerations to their projects, to be able to tap into this new pool of capital.

On the equity side the biggest transaction in the past year was undoubtedly Naspers’ partial spin-off through the listing of its internet assets on the Amsterdam exchange. Prosus today has a market cap of €132bn, one of the rare stocks to have gained value during this pandemic. Access Bank’s takeover of Diamond Bank, the biggest bank M&A to take place in Africa last year, is also shortlisted.

This year’s sponsors include the African Guarantee Fund, the Bank of Industry, Moza Banco and Olam. The AfDB is the event’s High Patron. 

For further information visit the African Banker Awards 2020 website

2020 nominees

African Banker of the Year

Ade Ayeyemi – Ecobank

Tarek Fayed – Banque du Caire, Egypt

Joao Figueiredo – MozaBanco, Mozambique

James Mwangi – Equity Bank, Kenya

Herbert Wigwe – Access Bank, Nigeria

African Bank of the Year

Access Bank

Attijariwafa Bank


Guaranty Trust Bank

Trade and Development Bank

Investment Bank of the Year

Bank of America



Rand Merchant Bank

Award for Financial Inclusion

Carbon, Nigeria

Equity Bank, Kenya

Financial Regulatory Authority of Egypt

Jumo, South Africa

Kenya Women Microfinance Bank

Innovation in Banking

Absa, Regional Operations



Standard Bank, South Africa

Trade and Development Bank

Socially Responsible Bank of the Year

Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco

Banque Misr, Egypt

East African Development Bank

Equity Bank, Kenya

Standard Bank, South Africa

Deal of the Year – Equity

Access Acquisition of Diamond Bank – Chapel Hill Denham / Citi

Airtel Dual Listing – Citi

Clover Buy-out and De-listing – RMB

Helios Towers IPO – Standard Bank / RenCap / EFG Hermes / BOA and Jeffries

MTN Nigeria IPO – Chapel Hill Denham

Deal of the Year – Debt

Access Bank Green Bond – Chapel Hill Denham

AFC Kimchi Syndication – Nedbank

Bank of Industry €1bn syndicated senior loan facility – BOI / Afreximbank

Cable Wireless Seychelles LBO – TDB

IHS$1.8bn dual currency facility – RMB / Citi

Project Isanti (Nampak funding facility) – Standard Bank

Infrastructure Deal of the Year

Acorn Green Bond – GuarantCo and Standard Bank

Gel Utility Nigeria – Infracredit

Nouakchott Port Financing – Hogan Lovells

Port of Maputo – Standard Bank

Standard Gauge Railway, Tanzania – CRDB

Energy Deal of the Year

Eranove Kekeli Power – Oragroup

Genser Energy Ghana – Standard Bank

Renewable Energy Bond – Nedbank

Rufiji Dam Tanzania – CRDB / Afreximbank

Sahara Power Assets – FBN

Agriculture Deal of the Year

Agri Exim – Absa Uganda

French Beans Project – Equity Bank

Kenya Women Microfinance Bank and USAID Kenya Investment Mechanism

Olam Rice Farm – Access Bank

Phoenix Trade Finance Facility – Afreximbank

SME Bank of the year

Bank of Industry, Nigeria

Bank Misr, Egypt


NBC, Tanzania

Sterling Bank, Nigeria

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