For Two Years In A Row – Herbert Wigwe is African Banker of the Year

Access Bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Herbert Wigwe has again been recognised as the African Banker of the Year at the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards.

Mr. Wigwe retains the award which he also won last year and it is in recognition of his stellar leadership in the market expansion of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest bank, in spite of the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 12 months, Access Bank has established a presence in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank.

Accepting the award, Mr. Wigwe said Access Bank is focused on promoting corporate discipline, and the Bank wants to be in key markets on the continent, building a 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 diaspora remittances, we are present in key areas in the continent,” he concluded.

Commenting on the award, Group Publisher of African Banker and Chair of the Awards Committee, Omar Ben Yedder said, “Herbert is one of the most respected bankers on the continent, without a shadow of a doubt. The Bank has gone from a lower ranked Nigerian bank when he joined the group as Deputy CEO to become one of Africa’s leading financial services groups. He has shown a relentless pursuit for growth, but has done so in a measured and calculated manner. What he and his team have done at Access Bank is nothing short of remarkable.”

African Banker magazine announced the winners of the 2021 Awards at a virtual ceremony held on the side-by-side with the 2021 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank, the major sponsor of the event.

In August last year, Access Bank emerged multiple award winners in the 2020 African Banker Awards.

While Herbert Wigwe, was named African Banker in 2020, Access Bank itself was winner of the ‘Agriculture Deal of the Year’ category that year.

Access Bank ranks as Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading retail bank in terms of customer base and it has grown rapidly over the last decade, with over 40 million customers.

The African Banker Awards have become the most respected and recognised industry event celebrating African banking achievements. The organisers this year, put emphasis on recognising and rewarding institutions that contributed to the real economy which has suffered from the impact of Covid-19 as well as contributed to women empowerment on the continent. The awards recognise African banks that have demonstrated original and practical uses of technology to provide customer convenience, improved and more affordable services and greater access to the financial services sector in Africa.


  1. Sustainable bank of the year: Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt
  2. Infrastructure deal of the year – Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility: Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB
  3. Deal of the year – Equity (Privatization of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd): FBNQuest
  4. Deal of the year – Debt (African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility): MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
  5. Award for financial inclusion: Trust Merchant Bank, DRC
  6. African Banker Icon: Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital
  7. Finance Minister of the year: Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco
  8. Award for Innovation for Financial Services: Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme
  9. Energy deal of the year – Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi: African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)
  10. Agriculture deal of the year – $400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group: African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
  11. African SME Bank of the Year: Ecobank
  12. Best Regional Bank in Africa –  (a) North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco. (b) West: Banque de Développement du Mali. (c) East: Equity Bank, Kenya. (d) Central: BGFI, Gabon. (e) Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique
  13. Investment Bank of the Year: ABSA
  14. Central Bank Governor of the Year: Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa
  15. Lifetime Achievement: Felix Bikpo
  16. African Bank of the Year: Standard Bank Group
  17. African Banker of the Year: Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank



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