April 15, 2020

#WCW: 5 Most Influential African Women in Banking

All over the world women are breaking barriers, challenging stereotypes, defying the odds and taking up leadership positions, ultimately leaving their mark and handling the reigns in different sectors: engineering, architecture, law, politics and finance.

Today we celebrate true queens, bold, fearless inspiring trailblazers who dared to rise against the odds, paying way for others to follow.

In no particular order, Duchess International Magazine presents 5 Most Influential African Women in Banking:

1 IBUKUN AWOSIKA, 57 – Chairperson, Board of Directors, First Bank of Nigeria Limited

Powerful, driven, high achiever, no doubt a heavy weight in Nigeria’s banking sector.

Ibukun Awosika is Chairman, Board of Directors First Bank Nigeria Limited and also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group.

An enterprenuer par excellence, the business magnate, author and motivational speaker is the first Nigerian recipient of the prestigious International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award as a nominee of the United States Department of States.

On September 7, 2015, Ibukun made history when she became the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank, Nigeria, Ltd.

Ibukun Awosika bags a degree in Chemistry from the Obafemi Awolowo University. She also holds post graduate and MBA certificates upon the completion of several business programmes at the Lagos Business School and IESE Business School.

The knowledgeable and astute finance expert professionally kicked off her career at Akintola Williams & Co during her youth service, later joining Alibert Nigeria Ltd. as showroom manager.

At age 25, in 1989, the everly driven, independent minded and passionate leader
established a furniture manufacturing company called Quebees Limited, it would later evolve into The Chair Centre Limited and SOKOA Chair Centre Limited.

Ibukun Awosika is member of IESE’s International Advisory Board (IAB). She also sits on the board of Digital Jewel Limited and Cadbury Nig Plc.

A fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network, Ibukun is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, member of the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and former Chairperson, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service.

The business mogul describes herself as “Innately proactive and an ideas machine.”

2. NASIM DEVJI, 65, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Trust Bank Group, Kenya

Nasim Mohamed Devji, highly influential business leader noted for her brilliance, innovation and impactful leadership. Proudly one of the five women at the helm of Kenyan commercial banks and one of two on the NSE list.

The Kenyan businesswoman, accountant and corporate executive joined the DTB Group in 1996, in 2001 she was appointed Group Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Trust Bank, East Africa.

Devji, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Trust Bank Group, a commercial banking conglomerate, with headquarters in Nairobi and banking subsidiaries in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda also sits on many boards of firms that make up the bank conglomerate within the region, while also sitting on the board of the NSE PLC.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICEAW), a Fellow of the Kenya Institute of Bankers, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (Kenya) and an Associate of the Institute of Taxation (United Kingdom).

Mrs. Devji is a director of DTB Tanzania. DTB Uganda. DTB Burundi, Jubilee Insurance Burundi, Diamond Trust Insurance Agency Limited and the Nairobi Securities Exchange Limited. She previously served as a member of the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation.

“I owe my position to hard work, experience and being focused on the job at hand.” CEO Diamond Trust Group, Nasim Devji says in an interview with Business Daily Africa.

3. MWANAHIBA MZEE – Managing Director  EcoBank, Tanzania

Reputed for her uncommon foresight and relentless enterprenurial spirit, Mwanahiba Mzee’s legacy is built as one of Tanzania’s most trusted voice in money matters.

Proudly one of Tanzania’s most accomplished financial experts, Mwanahiba Mzee boasts of 22 years extensive financial service experience.

Ms. Mwanahiba Mohammed in 2017 was appointed EcoBank Managing Director, becoming the first woman to lead the financial institution.

Widely experienced with an impeccable recordto show, prior to the appointment, Ms. Mohammed served in various leadership capacities at four different reputable multinationals and one local bank including Azania bank Ltd, Bank of Africa, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic Bank. 

She launched her professional career in the banking industry starting from clerk position in trade services.

Ms. Mwanahiba is the only Managing Director in a banking group with 37 countries presence.

Her leadership experience cuts across strategic management, retail banking, operational Risk management and corporate banking.

Vastly trained, Mwanahiba had her Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies and an MBA in Finance from Hull University and another MBA from ESAMI, amongst several other noteworthy certifications.

4. MANSA NETTEY, 53 – Chief Executive and Managing Director at Standard Chartered Ghana

A seasoned financial expert respected for her
deep knowledge and insight as regards financial matters, Mansa Nettey is undoubtedly one of Ghana’s most powerful women in the banking sector.

She joined the management team in 2012 as the Head of Global Markets and in 2017 became the first female CEO to be appointed by Standard Chartered Bank Ghana.

The top executive serves on the Board of Directors at Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited and on the Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited board as an Executive Director.

Boasting of over 19 years extensive experience in banking, Mansa has held various senior roles in Corporate and Institutional Banking in Standard Chartered including managing across the West Africa sub-region.

The highly trained financier has a Bachelor of Pharmacy Degree from University of Science and Technology, Ghana and a Master in Business Administration from Manchester Business School in the United Kingdom.

She is founder of Leukemia Project Foundation in Ghana.

5. SARAH ARAPTA – CEO of Citi Bank Uganda

“My daily learning ritual is making sure I deposit one thing in my ‘knowledge bank’ everyday. ”

Driven, purposeful and an undaunted go-getter, foremost businesswoman and corporate executive in Uganda, Sarah Arapta is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Citibank Uganda.

Sarah Arapta is member of the five-person executive committee of the Uganda Bankers Association, where she serves as the Chief Auditor.

Prior to her appointment, she worked with Stanbic Bank Uganda as the Head Corporate Banking, later serving as Head of Investment Banking and Director of Corporate and Investment Banking at Barclays Bank for one year and six months in 2014 before her move to Citibank.

Passion and rugged determination spoke,
In January 2016, she was appointed managing director and CEO of Citibank Uganda.

Cheers to these boss ladies doing Africa proud!