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Vera Songwe wins African Banker Icon of the Year, as women steal the spotlight at the African Banker Awards

26 May, 2022
Vera Songwe wins African Banker Icon of the Year, as women steal the spotlight at the African Banker Awards
  • The African Banker Awards 2022 Gala Ceremony gathered key personalities in Africa’s financial services sector at the Kempinksi Hotel in Accra, Ghana

  • Two of the most prestigious awards at the African Banker Awards, the African Banker Icon and the Finance Minister of the Year, were awarded to two powerful African women, Ms Vera Songwe and the Honourable Minister Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa, respectively

  • A total of 22 Awards were presented at the African Banker Awards 2022

Accra, Ghana, 26 May 2022 – Last night the 16th edition of the African Banker Awards Gala Ceremony took place at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra, Ghana. The event was held under the High Patronage of the African Development Bank, being part of the programme of the Bank’s Annual Meetings. Over 300 banking and financial services professionals joined the Gala Ceremony to discover the winners of the African Banker Awards 2022.

Two women won two of the most prestigious awards: the African Banker Icon and Finance Minister of the Year.

Ms Vera Songwe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, was awarded the African Banker Icon Award for her tireless work in providing governments with the fiscal ammunition to deal with the impact of COVID-19. “It really was a moment to demonstrate that Africa is resilient. I came to the table with an understanding of the menu of solutions because in 2008 I was on the other side [of the table] when SDRs were handed out to European economies [to stave off a financial crisis] … What we are focusing on at the ECA is prosperity. The ingredients are there for success; there is latent innovation; what we need to do is provide the infrastructure; the soft infrastructure, the hard infrastructure and the human capital to deliver the end game which is jobs, prosperity and a better life for all.” Ms Songwe said in her acceptance speech.

Angola’s Finance Minister, Hon Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa, was recognised as the Finance Minister of the Year for her stand-out work in restoring stability and market confidence to her country.

Another notable recognition was for Michael Atingi-Ego, the Deputy Central Bank Governor, Uganda, who won Central Bank Governor of the Year. Earlier this year, his predecessor, Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Ugandan economist and Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda, passed away, leaving a void which will not be easily filled. However, the Central Bank of Uganda was one of the star performers this year, having managed to stave off inflation and achieve currency stability in an extremely challenging environment.

In his speech, Omar Ben Yedder, Chair of the African Banker Awards Organising Committee and Publisher of African Banker magazine, said that it is time we focused our efforts on strengthening our domestic capabilities to finance growth. "We need strong institutions and we need to start with our commercial and development banks. If we have learnt anything from the past two years, and even more so these last two months, it is that we need to achieve financial sovereignty if we are to own our growth agenda."

Other winners include legendary Nigerian banker Atedo Peterside, founder of IBTC Bank, which he merged with Stanbic 15 years ago, who won Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to banking. The success of IBTC, he said, was built on everyone buying into the mission of the bank and shared values and culture.

Benedict Oramah won African Banker of the Year for his work in growing Afreximbank's balance sheet and making it one of the leading banks in terms of its response to Covid-19 by providing much needed liquidity and solutions when it came to vaccine acquisition, as well as its lead role in helping create the conditions so that businesses can take advantage of the AfCFTA once all negotiations are finalised.

The winner of the African Bank of the Year, for the second year running, was awarded to the Standard Bank Group, the continent’s largest bank by assets and also by tier one capital.

This year the Awards were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, Bank of Industry (Nigeria) and the Trade Development Bank as well as Access Bank. The Award Patron is the African Development Bank, whose annual meetings conclude tomorrow and who celebrates this year 50 years of the African Development Fund, which is undergoing a new replenishment round.



  1. Energy Deal of the Year
    Temane Thermal Power Station
    Absa Mozambique and International Finance Corporation

  2. Agriculture Deal of the Year
    US $200 Million corporate facility (the “Facility”) to BUA Industries Limited (“BIL”) 
    Africa Finance Corporation

  3. Infrastructure Deal of the Year
    The Luanda Bita Water Supply Project
    African Trade Insurance Agency

  4. Deal of the Year - Debt
    BANK OF INDUSTRY €750 Million Debut Senior Note Participation Notes due 2027
    Bank of Industry

  5. Deal of the Year - Equity
    Prosus’ c. US$15 Billion Accelerated Equity Offering in Tencent

  6. Sustainable Bank of the Year
    Trade and Development Bank

  7. FinTech of the Year

  8. Award for Financial Inclusion
    Tugende Uganda

  9. SME Bank of the Year

  10. DFI of the Year
    Trade and Development Bank

  11. African Bank of the Year
    The Standard Bank Group

  12. African Banker of the Year
    Benedict Oramah

  13. Yaw Kuffour Award for Trade Finance
    Coris Bank

  14. Central Bank Governor of the Year
    Michael Atingi-Ego
    Deputy Central Bank Governor, Uganda

  15. Minister of Finance of the Year
    Hon. Vera Esperança dos Santos Daves de Sousa, Angola

  16. African Banker Icon 
    Dr. Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa

  17. Lifetime Achievement 
    Atedo Peterside CON, Founder of IBTC Bank

  18. Best Regional Bank – North Africa 
    National Bank of Egypt

  19. Best Regional Bank – Southern Africa 
    Mauritius Commercial Bank

  20. Best Regional Bank – West Africa
    Fidelity Bank, Ghana

  21. Best Regional Bank – East Africa 
    Co-Operative Bank of Kenya

  22. Best regional Bank – Central Africa
    Raw Bank, DRC



About the African Banker Awards

The African Banker Awards are a landmark annual event for African banking taking place during the annual meetings of the African Development Bank. Organised by African Banker magazine and IC Events in co-operation with BusinessinAfrica Events, the African Banker Awards celebrate excellence and best practices in African banking.

Recognising the personalities and banks that are driving Africa’s rapidly transforming financial sector, the African Banker Awards bring together industry leaders from Africa and the world. They celebrate the achievements of those who are driving growth and development and creating new economic opportunities for citizens and communities all over the continent; and inspire new generations of bankers who are shaping Africa’s future.


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