African Women in Banking and Payments

While banking and payments is still considered a mainly a ‘boy’s club’ with few women holding top positions both in Africa and internationally we thought we would highlight some of the woman who are making their mark in the African banking and payments landscape.

1. Maria Ramos – Chief Executive of Africa, Barclays

Maria Ramos is a Portuguese-South African businesswoman who heads up Absa Bank, Barclays’ South African subsidiary and is the Chief Executive of Africa for Barclays. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of Barclays. A scholar of economics, she holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master of Science in Economics from the University of London.

Before going into banking she was a member of the ANC team that worked on the fiscal aspects of South Africa’s 1993 Interim Constitution, and acted as director general of South Africa’s National Treasury in 1996 where she played a key role in transforming the Treasury into one of the most effective and efficient state departments in the post-apartheid administration.

In her role as Chief Executive of Africa for Barclays she is in charge of the Group’s 13 African operations which serve some 15 million customers across the continent through more than 11,000 outlets.

2. Linah Mohohlo – Governor, Bank of Botswana

Linah Kelebogile Mohohlo has been the Governor of the Bank of Botswana since 1999. Her appointment followed a 23-year career with the bank, during which she worked in support and policy areas. She has also worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a Special Appointee.

She studied accounting and business, economics, finance and investments at the University of Botswana, The George Washington University and University of Exeter, respectively, and received executive management training from Yale University. She has also authored and/or published several papers and book chapters in economics, finance/investments, reserves management and governance.

In addition to having been a member of the inaugural Botswana Economic and Advisory Council, Mohohlo serves on the boards of several major corporations in Botswana and abroad. She was also appointed Eminent Person in 2002 by the former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

Mohohlo is currently a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Committee on Financial Services for the Poor as well as being a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases the Africa Progress Report, which outlines issues of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies.

3. Gill Marcus – Governor, South African Reserve Bank

Gill Marcus is the ninth Governor of the South African Reserve Bank and the first woman to ever hold the position.

Marcus completed her degree by correspondence with the University of South Africa while in exile with her family during apartheid and in 1970 she began working for the exiled ANC’s Department of Information and Publicity (DIP) in London, later becoming the DIP’s deputy secretary. She returned to South Africa in 1990 after the ANC was unbanned and established the ANC’s Information Department in 1990.

She was elected a Member of Parliament in 1994 and became Deputy Minister of Finance serving under Trevor Manuel. In 1999 she became Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank under Tito Mboweni where she held the post for 5 years.

She then held the Professorship of Leadership and Gender Studies at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, before going into business, initially as chairman of Western Areasmining company and later as non-executive director of Gold Fields. In 2007 she succeeded Danie Cronjé as chair of Absa Group and Absa Bank.

In 2009 it was announced that she would return to the Reserve Bank to succeed Mboweni as Governor.

4. Yolande Van Wyk – CEO, eWallet Solutions, First National Bank

Yolande Van Wyk is the CEO of eWallet Solutions at First National Bank in South Africa.

She is a qualified Industrial Engineer and has also completed her Masters in Business Administration at UCT at the Graduate School of Business.

Van Wyk began her career as a mobile telecoms consultant at Icon Corporation and Accenture Consulting before joining Leaf Wireless as an Analyst, later becoming Project Office Manager for Leaf Wireless.

Van Wyk joined First National Bank Cellphone Business Solutions and Smart Services as Head of Product Development and was part of the original Cellphone Banking team. Since then she’s headed up Strategic Projects as well as Expansion, and was responsible for the management and implementation of her division’s products in FNB and FirstRand subsidiaries within the African continent. In 2008 Van Wyk took over eWallet solutions.

Van Wyk is a leading expert in mobile financial services and financial inclusion. With her extensive experience she is a regular speaker at innovation and banking conferences around the world.

5. Dr Sarah Omotunde Alade – Acting Governor Central Bank of Nigeria

Dr. Sarah Omotunde Alade was appointed Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on 20 February 2014. Prior to this time, she had served as Deputy Governor (Economic Policy), Central Bank of Nigeria from 26 March 2007.

She obtained a degree in Economics from the University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also obtained an M.Comm degree at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia and a Ph.D Management Science (Operations Research), from the University of Ilorin.

Alade began her career with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ilorin, Kwara State. She also lectured at the University of Ilorin in the Department of Accounting and Finance. She joined the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1993 as an Assistant Director in the Research Department where she served as Head, State Government Finance Office (1993-1996), Head, Federal Government Finance Office (1996-2000) and Head, Fiscal Analysis Division (2000-2004).

She has contributed to major economic policy studies and has been involved in the preparation of Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary and Credit Policy Proposals over the years. She was actively involved in the drafting of the Medium Term Economic Programme (MTP) for Nigeria.

Alade was also appointed Director, Banking Operations Department in May 2004. In that capacity, she served as Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS). She was also a member of the Technical committee of the Vision 2010 and is currently a member of the Technical Committee of Vision 2020 and a member of the National Economic Management Team (EMT).

As a member of the Nigerian Economic Society (NES), she has several publications to her credit and is currently carrying out research into Interest Rate Policy and Monetary Policy Implementation in Nigeria.