By Amadou Labba Sall 

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is delighted to announce that Mrs. Kanayo Awani has received the AFIS “Woman Leader” award at the annual Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) 2022 in Lomé, Togo. The AFIS awards, founded in 2021, recognizes and rewards institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth of the African financial sector.

The AFIS “Woman Leader” Award is a prestigious award that honors extraordinary female leaders in Africa’s financial sector who are active in the industry’s public and private spheres. It recognises women who have had a significant impact through the excellence of their careers, the scope of their responsibilities and their commitment to promoting financial inclusion. The AFIS citation, in naming EVP Mrs. Awani as the 2022 Woman Leader, highlighted her contribution and unwavering commitment to the African banking and financial industry and for being a front runner in supporting the achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in her capacity as Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank, a division of Afreximbank.

In her capacity as well, Mrs. Awani has led the Bank’s trade finance business across its member states and growing the Bank’s portfolio and assets from US$926 million in 2009 to a multi-billion-dollar entity in 2022. She has led product development and implementation in support of the Bank’s key strategic initiatives, such as the Pandemic Trade Impact Mitigation Facility (PATIMFA), which disbursed over US$7 billion to African corporates and entities as a timely response to COVID-19-related liquidity constraints; and recently the US$4 billion Ukraine Crisis Adjustment Trade Financing Program (UKAFPA) to help member countries mitigate the impact of the Ukraine crisis on their economies and businesses.

A devoted supporter of the AfCFTA, Mrs. Awani has also led efforts in developing an AfCFTA Adjustment Fund and ensuring the establishment of requisite infrastructures, such as the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), to facilitate cross-border trade payments and settlements. Previously (2011 to 2022), Mrs Awani served as Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative, where she was primarily responsible for executing the Bank’s Intra-African Trade Strategy.

While accepting the award, EVP Mrs. Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, highlighted key initiatives Afreximbank has undertaken to further develop and entrench Africa’s goal of enhancing Intra African trade. In her speech, she also thanked Afreximbank’s President and Colleagues, commenting:

“I feel particularly honoured to be associated with the 2022 Africa Financial Industry Summit. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the nominees in this category, for collectively, we are all winners. I would also like to thank the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, for his vision and outstanding leadership and to the Board for giving me the opportunity to lead. To be recognized in such a manner for doing my job is as much as humbling as it is rewarding. I will urge all of us to continue to play our respective roles, working assiduously in various capacities to make a difference and ultimately enhance the livelihoods of our people.”

As the Chairperson of the Africa Chapter of Factors Chain International (FCI), Mrs. Kanayo Awani has also been instrumental in promoting factoring as an alternative financing option, especially for SMEs. Mrs. Awani has also been leading Afreximbank’s intervention in promoting financial inclusion across the Bank’s operations. She also represents the Bank and serves on the Boards of the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), Africa Credit Opportunities Fund and the Advisory Board of AUDA-NEPAD’s Home-Grown Solutions Accelerator Programme.

Commenting on her award, Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “Congratulations to our very own Mrs. Kanayo Awani on her prestigious recognition as a Woman Leader in Africa’s financial and banking industry by AFIS. She has been an integral force within our organization with her belief in the AfCFTA, delivering initiatives, strategies, and her enormous effort to ensure that intra-African trade is elevated under the auspices of the AfCFTA. We commend her role in ensuring that Afreximbank’s mandate in achieving the implementation of the AfCFTA is widely recognized and appreciated by all our member states. Again, congratulations on a well-deserved recognition.”

The 2022 AFIS Summit was organized in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private sector organization, the Republic of Togo, Ecobank Group and Deloitte.


About Afreximbank

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that the African Union adopted (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Afreximbank is working with the AU and the AfCFTA Secretariat to implement an Adjustment Facility to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of 2021, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at about US$25 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$4 billion. Afreximbank disbursed more than US$51 billion between 2016 and 2021. The Bank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.


For more information, visit 

Follow us on Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

Media Contact: Amadou Labba Sall