African Banker Awards: State Bank of Mauritius bags best retail bank title
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame also received a special recognition award for Rwanda’s achievements, including spearheading its economic growth and transformation over the last 20 years. (Image: Flickr)
The State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) has been awarded the ‘Best Retail Bank in Africa’ award during the African Banker Awards 2014.
SBM management indicated that the award was the product of the bank’s strong, sound and sustained financial performance.
The African Banker Awards seek to recognize the reforms, rapid modernization and expansion of banking and finance in Africa.
The eight edition of the awards took place on Wednesday, May 21, at the Kigali Serena Hotel in Rwanda during the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank.
A strong presence of English-speaking banks was noted in the 36 financial institutions nominated for the awards, with Nigeria and South Africa – the first two economic powers of the continent – being the most represented.
There was also a noticeable strong performance from smaller financial institutions such as the Trust Merchant Bank from DR Congo which won Best Bank in Central Africa, Ecobank Mali which won Best Bank in West Africa while Zimbabwe’s Stanbic beat tough competition from bigger banks to become Best Bank in Southern Africa.
The awards also recognize those who have been instrumental in maintaining excellence and best practices, along with the outstanding achievements of individuals and companies that have changed the perception of Africa’s potential in domestic and international markets.
Accordingly, Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, received a special recognition award at the annual awards ceremony for Rwanda’s achievements, including spearheading the economic growth and transformation that the East African emerging economy has registered over the last 20 years.
President Kagame paid tribute to Rwandans who have sacrificed in many ways to put Rwanda where it is.
Women emerged the top winners in the individual categories for the African Banker Awards 2014.
Vivienne Yeda of the East African Development Bank bagged the much-coveted award for African Banker of the Year, Linah Mohohlo of the Bank of Botswana won in the Central Bank of the Year category and Elizabeth Mary Oleko, chairperson of the Kenya Women Finance Trust, was distinguished with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
According to the organizers of the event, over the years the quantity and quality of entries has been increasing which attests to the readiness of African banks and financial institutions to showcase to the world the good work they have been doing.
More particularly, Omar Ben Yedder, editor-in-chief African Banker magazine, noted that the “Transaction of the year” category saw significant changes this year.
Ben Yedder also observed that the entries they have received this year show transformational transactions in critical development areas such as power, transport and agriculture.
“Many of these offers are financed and structured by African local banks in association with international partners. It is a sign that does not deceive on positive transformations taking place almost everywhere in Africa,” he stated.
“A decade ago, these deals would have been unimaginable in Sub-Saharan Africa – with the exception of South Africa,” Ben Yedder said, citing the recent dual listing of Seplat, an indigenous Nigerian oil and gas company, on both the Lagos and London primary exchanges.
He added that the exceptional role that banks are playing in driving innovation in Africa has been well documented, citing Kenya’s Equity Bank as an example which shows the lead role banks are taking in coming up with new solutions to service the unbanked.
However, while tremendous strides have been made by the industry as a whole, the industry is still being criticized for not contributing sufficiently to the ‘real’ economy with many people still outside the formal banking structure.
He expressed confidence that increased competition, as well as clear guidance and the right policy by regulators, will help channel capital to hitherto excluded sectors and communities.
The big winners of the night included GTBank, Nigeria, crowned the African Bank of the Year and Bank of Kigali, Rwanda, which emerged as the Best Bank in East Africa.
The ‘Icon of the Year’ Award for 2014 was given to the President and CEO of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Andrew Alli.
The organizers said they chose Alli because of AFC’s contributions in infrastructure financing, its role in helping to change Africa’s perception and its contribution to best global practices on the continent.
“We believe landmark transformational projects can yield equal financial and social dividends and our success to date demonstrates this,” Andrew Alli concluded.
List of winners
• African Bank of the Year
• African Banker of the Year
• Investment Bank of the Year
Rand Merchant Bank
• Award for Innovation in Banking
• Socially Responsible Bank of the Year
• Award for Financial Inclusion
• Deal of the Year – Equity
Citi – Atlas Mara IPO
• Deal of the Year – Debt
Standard Chartered – Dangote
• Fund of the Year
Investec Asset Management
• Best Retail Bank in Africa
State Bank of Mauritius
• Best Islamic Finance Initiative
Islamic Bank of Mauritania
• Best Regional Bank in Africa
North – Banque Centrale Populaire
Southern – Stanbic Zimbabwe
East – Bank of Kigali
West – Ecobank Mali
Central – Trust Merchant Bank, Congo
• Mortgage Bank of the Year
Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company
• African Banker Icon
• Central Bank Governor of the Year
Linah Mohohlo (Botswana)
• Finance Minister of the Year
Hon Armando Manuel (Angola)
• Lifetime Achievement Award*
Elizabeth Mary Okelo