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AFC Receives “Deal of the Year” at African Banker Awards 2010

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The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) received the Deal of the Year Award from African Banker magazine. The award was announced at the publication’s 2010 African Banker Awards ceremony in Washington, DC alongside the 2010 IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. AFC received the award in recognition of its role as lead investor in the Main One Fibre Optic Cable System.

Receiving the award on behalf of AFC, Oliver Andrews, Director and Chief Coverage Officer, expressed the corporation’s appreciation for the honour bestowed. “AFC welcomes this kind recognition. For us, this was clearly a deal to get behind, firmly and solidly, and not just because it made perfect sense from a financial standpoint, but also from a development perspective. We saw that Main One had tremendous benefits in terms of strengthening African telecommunications capacity and improving West Africa’s links with the rest of the world.” Andrews praised the outstanding initiative by Main One CEO Funke Opeke, who conceived of and drove the Main One cable System project to fruition. “This is one of the few fully African-conceived, African-financed and African-executed infrastructure projects that has been delivered on time and within budget,” he said. The system was formally launched and came online in July this year.

African Banker magazine Publisher Omar Ben Yedder said the Main One Cable System was selected for its unique characteristics as a multi-national, multi-jurisdictional project, which supplies an open access product that will provide a competitive platform for international connectivity. Such competition, he noted, will allow for prices to fall over time as demand increases, supported by the product’s reliability and substantial capacity 10 times of what currently exists, ultimately benefiting consumers.

Other award winners who shared the evening’s spotlight with AFC included Moroccan bank Attijariwafa, which won the African Bank of the Year award, Banque Internationale Arabe Tunisie (BIAT) as Best Local Bank in Africa, Standard Chartered Bank as Best Global Bank, and Dr. James, Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO of Kenya’s Equity Bank, who won the African Banker of the Year award for revolutionizing Kenya’s banking industry after pioneering the first mobile banking technology in the world to reach out to the unbanked.

Commenting on this year’s awards on the whole, Omar Ben Yedder 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 a landmark annual event organised by African Banker magazine and IC Events during the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. This year’s gala dinner and awards ceremony, held at the Willard Intercontinental hotel in Washington, DC brought together over 300 key industry players and top government officials from Africa and around the world to honor the achievements of companies and individuals who have contributed significantly to the reform, modernisation and expansion of the continent’s banking and financial system.

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