Press Releases

Ecobank Receives IFC Client Leadership Award for Improving Access to Finance in Africa

In Nairobi:
Houtan Bassiri
Phone:  +254 20 275 9000

In Washington D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290

Istanbul, Turkey, October 5, 2009—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today it has awarded its annual Client Leadership Award to Ecobank, a pan-African bank with a network of over 500 branches in 27 countries, in recognition of its support for IFC’s strategic priority to reach frontier markets and create greater access to finance in Africa.

After receiving a record number of nominations this year, IFC took the unusual step of deciding to make two equal client awards, one to Ecobank in the financial-sector category, and one to Brazil’s Anhanguera Educacional Participações in the real-sector category.

The annual award recognizes IFC clients that reflect our values and demonstrate leadership, innovation, operational excellence, strong corporate governance, and a commitment to socially and environmentally sustainable development.

“This award acknowledges Ecobank’s commitment to improving access to finance across Africa,” said Arnold Ekpe, CEO of the Ecobank Group. “The IFC Client Leadership Award is an important achievement for Ecobank as it recognizes our strong partnership and our shared commitment to building inclusive financial markets.”

IFC’s relationship with Ecobank started 16 years ago with an investment in Ecobank Ghana. Since then, IFC has invested in a number of the group’s subsidiaries, as well as investing in the group’s holding company in 1999 and 2008. IFC has also supported improvements in the group’s governance structure and social and environmental standards.  

“Ecobank’s success illustrates in very human terms the development impact that IFC is trying to achieve and the benefits of extending financial services to people and places that need them the most,” said Lars Thunell, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO. “Working with Ecobank’s extensive network has enabled IFC to have a larger impact supporting the development of the private sector in numerous economic sectors and countries across Africa.”

The award ceremony took place on Sunday, October 4 during the 2009 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Istanbul.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit

About Ecobank
Incorporated in 1985, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated is the parent company of the leading independent regional banking group in Africa. The bank is listed on the stock exchanges in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria. The Ecobank Group operates in 28 African countries and a 29th subsidiary in France, and is owned by more than 7,000 shareholders. The group has over 11,000 employees in over 700 branches. Ecobank is a full-service bank that provides wholesale, retail, investment, and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, micro,  small, and medium businesses, and individuals. For more information, visit