One of the most coveted prizes in the banking industry, the African Banker of the Year prize, has been awarded to Esther Kariuki, Head of Agriculture Business at the Co-op Bank of Kenya.
Ms Kariuki was named the African Banker of the Year 2023 at the 58th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank that is underway in the sea side resort city of Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Banker of the Year Award was created by the African Development Bank to recognise individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding ability to ensure his/her bank is playing an active role in enhancing socio-economic empowerment and development within the community his/her institution operates in.
Ms Kariuki was recognised for making small-holder farmers bankable by creating an end-to-end credit administration process that has ensured a near 100 percent loan repayment performance, thereby showcasing that small-holder farmers involved in primary production can sustainably run their farming enterprise and lead decent livelihoods.
Ms Kariuki oversaw the roll-out of the Co-op Bank Soko platform, a digital marketplace that connects the agriculture value chain and ensures, among other things, that small-holder farmers receive a higher price for their produce.
This year’s AfDB Meetings focused on mobilising private sector finance towards green growth. The 2023 edition was sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and Tanzania’s CRDB Bank.