Ghana is set to host the maiden edition of the ECOWAS Finance Award (EFA) on Friday May 13, 2022, at Alisa Hotel in Ghana’s capital and commercial city, Accra at 6:00pm.
The ECOWAS Finance Awards recognises industry talent, leadership skills, industry net worth and capability. After careful consideration of nominations by a qualified research team, winners will be felicitated at a glittering awards gala, to be held at the premium four-star Alisa Hotel in Ghana’s capital.
The event, which is being organised by the African Consolidated Analytical Limited, a leading consultancy firm in Nigeria, in collaboration with Business Day Media under the auspices of Ecowas Ventures, is under the theme: ‘The Roles of Africa’s Banking & Financial Services Sector in Delivering Expectations of African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement’.
EFA will feature keynote presentation and a panel discussion that will focus on the key roles, synergies, collaborations, and partnerships required from West Africa’s banking and financial institutions to deliver on the gains of AfCFTA.
The keynote is expected to be delivered by Pierre Frank Laporte, Country Director, World Bank, Ghana. Other dignitaries that are expected to attend the event include Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, Executive Director of Jospong Group of Companies, Ken Ofori-Atta, Finance Minister, Togbe Afede XIV among others.
“EFA is created to provide a platform of engagement for players in the banking and financial services sector, policy makers in government and investors alike. The awards event would recognise, reward, and celebrate organisations, institutions and individuals that are contributing to the innovation, achievements, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the banking and financial sector and the general economy in West Africa,” Mr. Iheukwumere Amadi, Awards Director, has stated.
There are nine broad award categories comprising of Banking, Insurance, Pension Funds, Investment Finance, Development Finance, Microfinance Banking and Mortgage finance, Regulatory and fintech as well as individual / recognition awards. Each broad award category, except the Regulatory Award, would feature four award categories namely: the ECOWAS CEO of the Year, ECOWAS Company of the Year; ECOWAS Most innovative company of the year and the ECOWAS fastest growing company of the year. Apart from that there shall also be ECOWAS Financial Reporter of the Year (Radio, TV, and Print Categories).
West Africa’s combined annual gross domestic product and gross domestic product per capita stand at $683.772m and $1, 721 respectively. It is pertinent to note that the growth and development of every economy – national or regional depends on the performance of various sectors of her economy. The impact of the banking and financial services sectors in the growth and development of the economy of the sub – region cannot be glossed over.
In the past two decades, this sector has contributed hugely to closing known gaps in unemployment, funding of start – ups, MSMEs and industries that have continued to employ hundreds of previously unemployed persons, especially, the youths.
Even though the pandemic decimated the economy of nations globally and post - pandemic recovery have been slow for many nations, this sector have continued to provide efficient access to financial services and products, flow of funds, which drives investment and consumption, thereby, increasing employment opportunities, lifting individuals and families out of poverty, increase in the level of domestic savings and boosting the effectiveness of monetary policies in their respective countries of operation.
The Banking and financial services sector is also the gateway to remittances and inflows of foreign direct investments (FDIs). Even though financial sector development in the ECOWAS region is low, when compared to South Africa and Egypt, there are visible increase in domestic credit to private sector, bank credit to bank deposit, broad money supply, regulatory environment, leading to financial stability and more of financial inclusion initiatives, leading to access to financial services by the unbanked in the sub - region.
Mr. Amadi said the vision, courage, passion, and determination some of the managers of the banking and financial sector in the sub – region have demonstrated in the face of daunting, harsh business climate makes the ECOWAS Finance Award more compelling.
Highlighting on the criteria for selection, Mr. Amadi disclosed that the Award Committee employed a mix of qualitative and quantitative parameters to select the nominees for different categories of awards. The qualitative parameters include the prompt release of audited annual reports within the stipulated time, presence of the analyst’s presentation on banks’ official websites among others.
The quantitative parameters, he noted, include profit after tax growth, capital adequacy ratio, return on average equity (ROAE), return on average assets (ROAA), non-performing loans (NPL), net interest margin (NIM), penalties paid to the regulator, complaints resolution, cost to income ratio and dividend growth.
Others include number of subsidiaries in sub–Saharan Africa (SSA), contributions to bottom line from SSA, promotion of non-interest banking and financial inclusion products and services, and the number of deals executed across the African continent. The list of nominees is expected to be released in the first week of May 2022.
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