Nigerian bankers sweep AFDB awards

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Two Nigerians, Mr Arnold Ekpe and Mr Olusegun Agbaje on Thursday took two prestigious awards at the annual bankers award held in Arusha, Tanzania.

Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc also won the Best Operating Bank in West Africa at the 6th edition of the African Bankers award organised by the African Development Bank (AFDB).

Ekpe, the outgoing Group Managing Director of Ecobank Transnational was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award while Agbaje, the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, Nigeria took the African Banker of the Year price.

Agbaje was presented with his trophy by Mr Tim Turner, the Director of the Private Sector Operations of AFDB.

Ecobank also won the African Bank of the Year in a keen competition with six other banks that contested in the category.

Ecobank, which got a strong endorsement during the AFDB annual general meeting by signing a 250 million dollars investment agreement with the South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation, also received commendations for its expansion as the pan African bank.

Under the best regional bank category, Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco won the North African award; BGFI, Gabon for Central Africa; Bank of Kigali, Rwanda for East Africa, while BCI, Mozambique emerged winner in Southern Africa region.

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Dr Eleni Gabre-Mahdin, the founder and managing director of the Ethiopia Commodities Exchange also won the African Banker Icon Award along with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mr Adebayo Ogunlesi.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the prestigious pan African ceremony was witnessed by Mr Mambury Njie, the Gambian Minister of Finance, Hon. John Rwangombwa, Minister of Finance, Rwanda, Dr Mustapha Kamel Nabli, Tunisian Central Bank Governor, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u, Kenyan Central Bank Governor.

Other are Ms Arunma Oteh, the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria and BBC World News presenter, Zeinab Badawi, among the guests in attendance.

Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker magazine said, “we have recognised some superb individuals and institutions tonight.

“Africa’s financial sector is a major vehicle for driving the economic growth that has become the talk of the investor community around the world.’’

Yedder said that the awards were for Africans who were prepared to take the “bull by the horn’’ and carry out well thought out visions to raise the development bar and in some cases taken difficult decisions to deliver on their agenda.