Magazine article African Business

Soludo Scoops Highest Award: The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Soludo Was Presented with the World's Most Prestigious Banking Award at a Ceremony in London Last Month. African Business Editor Anver Versi Was There

Magazine article African Business

Soludo Scoops Highest Award: The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Professor Soludo Was Presented with the World's Most Prestigious Banking Award at a Ceremony in London Last Month. African Business Editor Anver Versi Was There

Article excerpt

At one of the most glittering African events in London so far this year, Professor Charles Soludo was presented with The Banker magazine's Global Central Banker of the Year award. This is the pinnacle in terms of achievement that the governor of any central bank can hope to achieve.

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In arriving at this most prestigious of global business awards, The Banker magazine selects five central bank governors, one each from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Americas. Then a panel of judges picks one of the five as the Global Banker of the Year.

This is the first time that the governor of any African central bank has been so honoured. The Banker magazine, which has just celebrated its 80th birthday, is owned by the highly influential Financial Times group.

Soludo's award came as recognition of his 'extraordinary' success in driving through the most rigorous banking reform in the country's post-independence history. Speaking at the ceremony at London's Dorchester Hotel, Baroness Lynda Chalker of Wallasey, once Britain's International Development Secretary and now a member of the International Investment Council, said, "Two years ago, the Nigerian banking industry was a complete mess. Today, international companies are looking for loans from Nigerian banks--a situation that was unthinkable only a short while ago."

When Professor Soludo took up his appointment as governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria 18 months ago, there were 89 banks in the country. Most were undercapitalised, some were owned by businessmen as nothing more than personal portfolios, bad debts were endemic, internal abuse was rampant, bank collapses were so frequent they no longer made news and the whole industry had become a by-word for corruption.

Professor Soludo, who had never worked in a bank previously, was asked to clean out the Aegean stables by President Olusegun Obasanjo. …

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