Nigerian Banks In Dismal Showing At 2019 African Banker Awards

Unlike in the past, it was a barren outing for Nigerian banks and bankers at the 2019 edition of the African Banker Awards in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
The Awards holds yearly on the fringes of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank to celebrate excellence in banking and finance on the continent had the African Guarantee Fund and Nigeria’s Bank of Industry, as main sponsors.
Nigerian banks nominated for awards as earlier announced by the organizers included: Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Ecobank (Ecobank Transnational Incorporated), Coronation Merchant Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
It was also nominated for best retail bank in Africa, along with Nigeria’s Guaranty Trust Bank, Coris, Burkina Faso; KCB, Kenya; and QNB AlAhli, Egypt; while Coronation Merchant Bank, also of Nigeria was nominated for the investment bank of the year, along with ABSA, South Africa; NedBank, South Africa; Rothschild; and Standard Bank, also of South Africa.
Access Bank Nigeria was among the five nominated for the socially responsible bank of the year, just as Bank Misr, Egypt; Equity Bank, Kenya; KCB, Kenya, and Qalaa Holdings, also of Egypt.
Stanbic IBTC Bank was nominated in the equity deal of the year category for its handling of the Flour Mills of Nigeria rights issue; just like Al Ahly’s Canal Sugar Equity; EFG Hermes, for the ASA IPO; RenCap’s CiplaQCIL IPO; and Standard Bank/RMB’s Vivo Energy IPO.
A statement by the organizers recalls that two big awards of the night went to development finance institutions- Afreximbank, which won Bank of the Year, and Admassu Tadesse, President of the Trade and Development Bank, an Ethiopian, who went home with African Banker of the Year award.
TDB, the statement noted, has grown its portfolio five-fold since Tadesse took over as President, largely increasing its presence in East and Southern Africa, where it operates, while Afreximbank, in 18 months has launched a number of game-changing products.
“This year’s lifetime achievement went to former First Rand Group CEO, South African Sizwe Nxasana. Under his leadership, the bank grew at a compound annual growth rate of 20%. In his acceptance speech, he called for even greater investment in human capital if we wanted to accelerate growth on the continent.
“The African Banker Icon went to Mitchell Elegbe, founder of Interswitch, the payments service provider. His company is predicted to be Africa’s first Africa-led unicorn – tech startup whose value exceeds $1bn.
“Egyptian Central Bank Governor, Tarek Amer won Central Bank Governor of the Year, for his work in restoring faith in Egypt’s markets and contributing to making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world and one of the best performing emerging markets.
Ecobank won Retail Bank of the year; Kenya’s KCB won the prize for innovation and Equity Bank for its CSR activities.
There was however consolation for Nigeria as the BoI won the prize for financial inclusion.
Commenting on the awardees, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher of African Banker said the financial services industry on the continent has over the years “seen great returns, and 2018 was another strong year for banks. Undoubtedly FinTech was the most buoyant sector in terms of tech investments and we are yet to truly see the transformative impact it can have. Despite the positive stories from the banking sector, the words of the winner of our Banker of the Year still resonate when he said last year at the Africa Investment Forum: we need to speed up, scale up and synergise. ”

Photo caption: African Banker of the Year, Admassu Tadesse receiving the award from Olukayode Pitan, MD, Bank of Industry.