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Again Herbert Wigwe wins African banker of year award 2021

Herbert Wigwe, group managing director of Access Bank Plc on Wednesday was declared the winner of the African Banker of the year award for the second consecutive time, by the African Banker Magazine.

Access bank is the largest retail bank in Africa with over 40 million customers. The bank’s entry into African markets was recognised by the panel of judges at the African Banker Magazine.

Responding to the award via zoom, Wigwe was pleased with the award, saying it was supported by the bank’s strong team.

He said the bank is focused on promoting corporate discipline, adding that the bank wants to be in key markets in the continent, building payment gateway and providing trade finance support.

“We want to be seen as the best bank supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA). In terms of the Diaspora remittances market, we need to be there. We are present in key areas in the continent,” he said.

Responding to questions on Access bank women empowerment initiative, Wigwe noted that the programme has run for eight years and has been extremely successful.

The Access bank Gender Empowerment (GEM) is a program aimed at supporting women and aspiring female entrepreneurs. Under this program, Access Bank provides women with resources they need to grow their business. It encompasses Finance, Capacity building, Networking, Advisory services and Market collaborations.

Wigwe noted that in 2006 when the programme started, the bank partnered with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, to provide a $15 million loan to the bank to extend lines of credit to women entrepreneurs.

He said today, the bank has about 5 million to 6 million women on that platform and has taken the initiative to other parts of the continent.

“We are neck-deep in gender related issues far beyond any other institution. The idea is if you build, support or train a woman, you train the whole family,” he said.

Other winners at the African Banker Magazine award are FBNQuest, the leading Merchant Bank & Asset Manager in sub-Saharan Africa, which won the deal of the year on equity award.

FBNQuest Merchant Bank, the investment banking and asset management subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, was appointed by the Bureau of Public Enterprises, on behalf of the National Council on Privatization, to act as the Financial Adviser and Consortium Lead on the privatization and sale of 100 percent equity stake in Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited.

Bank of Industry (BoI) was winner of ‘Innovation in financial service award’ following its role in the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme.

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), emerged the winner of the SME bank of the year award, while AfreximBank won the deal of the year award in the category of agriculture. ABSA of South Africa won the investment bank of the year award, while Charles Robertson, global Chief Economist and head of macro strategy Unit, Renaissance Capital, was named the African Banker Icon of the year.

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