French-Speaking Africa Triumphs at African Banker Awards 2010

French–speaking African banks celebrate their haul of the two most coveted awards on offer at this year’s African Banker Awards.

The Moroccan bank Attijariwafa took home African Bank of the Year, while the Best Local Bank in Africa award went to Banque Internationale Arabe Tunise (BIAT).

East Africa exulted in the successes of the region’s banking achievements too, as Dr. James Mwangi, MD and CEO of Kenya’s Equity Bank picked up the African Banker of the Year award. He was cited for revolutionizing Kenya’s banking industry, pioneering the first mobile banking technology in the world to reach out to the unbanked, and for championing the empowerment of ordinary people through inclusive finance. T.H. Syda Bbumba, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development of Uganda was honoured with the accolade of Minister of Finance of the Year, for reducing inflation and instituting sound fiscal and monetary policies which have contributed to a growing economy. Ethiopia joined the exclusive ranks of winners for the first time since the inception of the Awards, with Amhara Credit and Savings Institution (ACSI) taking home the Microfinance Institution of the Year Award.

Although the Nigerian banks have taken a hit due to restructuring and tough reforms over the past year, Access Bank and Stanbic IBTC managed to stand out and win the Socially Responsible Bank of the Year and Best Issuing House awards respectively, an indication that the traditional financial powerhouse is ready to bounce back bigger and better.

The audience had a treat as Christine Ohuruogu, the 2008 Beijing Olympic 400m champion, presented the Best Global Bank Award to Standard Chartered Bank.

Commenting on this year’s Awards, Omar Ben Yedder, Publisher, African Banker magazine, said, “We are pleased to see such a diverse set of winners this year. Banking is still growing rapidly throughout Africa and we are seeing large groups diversifying their activities and product offerings. This is necessary and the private sector needs strong banking institutions. African banks are well capitalized by international standards but can play an even bigger role in driving growth and assisting small businesses. I am confident, with the talent on show here tonight, that they will rise to this challenge.”

The African Banker Awards is organised by African Banker magazine and IC Events. It is a landmark event taking place every year during the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington DC recently, and brought together over 300 key industry players and top government officials from Africa and around the world to honour the achievements of companies and individuals who have contributed significantly to the reform, modernization and expansion of the continent’s banking and financial system, driving Africa’s sustained economic growth in the process.

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