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Top Bankers Honoured During the African Development Annual Meeting

On June 6 2012, Africa's Top Bankers gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, to celebrate the 6th edition of the African Banker Awards, under the patronage of the African Development Bank (http://www.afdb.org). They rewarded outstanding talent and achievement in Africa's financial sector.

 The outstanding event was held for the first time in an open field in shadow of two of Africa’s most magnificent mountains – Mountain Meru and Mountain Kilimanjo. The occasion, graced by several central bank governors and high profile bank CEO’s, seated about 450 guests. It recognized and honored individuals who have, according to Omar Ben Yedder, raised the bar as far as African banking goes, citing the Central Bank Governor of Tunisia and the Finance Minister of Guinea as sparking examples. He stated that the winners this year formed a merging of Africa’s Anglophone and Francophone countries and that the credit was to African Banking as a whole.

 Amongst such winners were Nigeria’s Olusegun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, who claimed the prize for African Banker of the Year. He was presented with his trophy by Tim Turner, Director of the Private Sector Operations of the African Development Bank.

 Perhaps the most moving episode of the evening came when Ecobank CEO, Arnold Ekpe, now regarded as a living legend among the continent's bankers, was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the founder and chairman of IC Publications, (publisher of African Banker), Afif Ben Yedder. Ekpe was given a standing ovation. Ecobank had more reason to celebrate the evening, when the Togo based African multinational beat a very strong challenge to emerge as the Bank of the Year.

 There were more cheers when Ethiopia's Dr. Eleni Gabre-Mahdin, founder and managing director of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange was named as this year's African Banker Icon. She follows in the footsteps of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Adebayo Ogunlesi, financial icons in Nigeria, who were previous winners.

The Best Regional Bank winners from each of the five regions of Africa were: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco for North Africa; BGFI, Gabon for Central Africa; Bank of Kigali, Rwanda for East Africa; Access Bank, Nigeria for West Africa; and BCI, Mozambique for Southern Africa- thus highlighting Africa's diversity but strength as one continent.

The African Banker Awards are organised by African Banker magazine, IC Events and BusinessinAfrica Events. It is a landmark event that celebrates excellence and best practices in African banking and finance. Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) is the Platinum sponsor for this year's African Banker Awards. Other sponsors include Bank of Industry, Harland Financial Solutions, Ecobank Nedbank Alliance, Giesecke & Devrient, Air Charter Logistics, AfreximBank, Africa Re, Africa Finance Corporation, and the Tunisian based BIAT.

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