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Afreximbank Appoints Nigeria’s Kanayo Awani Executive Vice President

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) on Momday in Cairo announced the appointment of Kanayo Awani to the position of Executive Vice President of the Intra-African Trade Bank (INAT) with effect from 1 July 2022.

The appointment follows a decision by Afreximbank’s Board of Directors on 13 June 2022 to approve a recommendation by Bank President Prof. Benedict Oramah for Ms. Awani to be appointed to the new position to lead INAT.

Awani has served as Managing Director of Afreximbank’s Intra-African Trade Initiative since 18 May 2016 where she had the primary responsibility of assisting the Bank in ensuring the attainment of its Intra-African Trade Strategy.

In that capacity, she successfully led Afreximbank’s engagements in support of the establishment and implementation of the AfCFTA, championing the Bank’s support for the negotiations which reach a point of highest development in the signing of the AfCFTA agreement in Kigali in March 2018.

She was also responsible for growing the Bank’s business attributed to intra-African trade from around three per cent in 2016 to 28 per cent by end of 2021, disbursing $20bn in support of intra-African trade and investments in five years.

In the same period, she also led the establishment and deployment of the Bank’s Intra-African Trade Champions programme, making it possible for major African businesses to expand their operations into other African countries.

She was also the arrowhead for the introduction and organization of the biennial Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), delivering the first edition, IATF2018, in Cairo in December 2018 and IATF2021 in Durban, South Africa, in November 2021.

Speaking after the Board meeting, Professor Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank’s President and Chairman of the Board of Directors said, “This appointment recognizes the instrumental role Ms. Awani has played in championing intra-African trade over the last several years.

“It also demonstrates the Board’s confidence in her ability to provide much-needed leadership as Afreximbank notches up its drive to further boost intra-African trade through the establishment of a focused purpose-driven intra-African trade bank alongside its activities underpinning the AfCFTA.”

Prior to joining Afreximbank in 2009, she served with Citigroup from 1990 to 2008, with responsibilities in Trade Services and Operations, Corporate Finance, and Corporate Banking before rising to the position of Vice President/Head of Industrial and Commercial Corporates at Citigroup Nigeria.
Awani holds a Master of Public Administration, with a major in International Trade and Finance, from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, U.S.A., as well as the Edward S. Mason Fellowship in Public Policy and Management, from the same university. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Estate Management from the University of Nigeria Enugu Campus.

In 2014, she earned the Leadership Transition Programme Certificate from INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France, and then went on to bag the Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme Certificate from Oxford University’s Said Business School in 2016 and the IMD High Performance Board Certificate in 2020.

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