6 Influential Africans in the Banking Sector You Should Know

When it comes to Africans in the banking sector, the continent’s local talent is sometimes overlooked.

But that story is changing today. HowAfrica is delving deep into the lives of some of Africa’s most powerful banking figures, people who are not only establishing a name for themselves but also setting global norms.

1. Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe, the CEO of Access Bank, is a major player in the Nigerian banking industry.

Access Bank has developed dramatically during his tenure, becoming one of Nigeria’s top financial organizations.

Herbert is a visionary who has contributed to numerous financial literacy programs and sustainability initiatives.

His leadership approach is frequently regarded as revolutionary, and he has received multiple honors for his services to the banking industry.


2. Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos, a banking powerhouse in South Africa, has had an outstanding career.

She has previously served as CEO of Absa Group and Barclays Africa Group, where she was instrumental in the bank’s growth and expansion across Africa.

Maria has served on numerous international boards and committees, offering her experience to global financial issues. She is known for her strategic insight and strong leadership.


3. James Mwangi

James Mwangi, the CEO of Equity Group Holdings, is a Kenyan entrepreneur who has transformed East African banking.

Under his leadership, Equity Bank has grown to become one of Africa’s major banks, providing a wide range of financial services to millions of people. James has received the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year award, and his work in financial inclusion has been recognized globally.


4. Tidjane Thiam

Tidjane Thiam, a French and Ivorian businessman, has had a distinguished career in finance. He was the CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse before becoming the first African to run a FTSE 100 listed business, Prudential.

Tidjane has worked on a number of international development initiatives and has received numerous awards and honors for his contributions to the banking industry.

His leadership has had a revolutionary impact, particularly on wealth management and sustainable development.


5. Sim Tshabalala

Sim Tshabalala, the CEO of Standard Bank Group. Sim, who is from South Africa, earned a stunning $2.8 million in 2022.

Standard Bank has grown significantly and expanded its operations throughout several African countries under his leadership. Sim is well-known for his creative banking practices and commitment to financial inclusion across the continent.

Each of these individuals has made important contributions to the banking sector, not just in their native nations, but also throughout Africa and beyond.


6. Tony Elumelu

Elumelu worked as a Youth Corp member in the Nigerian Bank Union Bank during his National Youth Service Corps in 1985 before beginning his career as a salesman. Elumelu later joined Allstates Trust Bank in 2005, and United Bank for Africa (UBA) was bought shortly after.

Elumelu led a small group of investors in taking over a failing Crystal Bank (later renamed Standard Trust Bank) in 1997. He turned it profitable within a few years, and in 2005, after receiving $20 million from industrialist Femi Otedola, he led one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s major banking mergers by acquiring United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Elumelu transformed the company as organization Managing Director from a single-country banking organization to a pan-African bank with subsidiaries in 20 African nations, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom following the merger of Standard Trust Bank and United Bank for Africa in 2005, before stepping down in 2010.

Elumelu now serves as the chairman of the board of directors of the United Bank for Africa.

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