Botswana’s “Banker of the Year” Lauren Fine with
Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, Spiritual Leader to the African Jewish Congress


The Jewish community of Botswana may be small, but it is growing, and already its members are starting to make an important impact in their adopted country. One such individual is former Johannesburger Lauren Fine, who settled in Gaborone in January 2000 and was recently honored as Botswana's "Banker of the Year" for 2005.

Rabbi Moshe Silberhaft, Spiritual Leader to the African Jewish Congress, said that he was delighted that the first female recipient of the prestigious banker of the Year award in Botswana had been a white and Jewish female. This, he said, demonstrated the strength of democracy in the country.

Rabbi Silberhaft further observed that both Fine and her husband Bryan (who have twin sons, Craig and Darren) were active members of the Gaborone Jewish community.

“In a reversal of what would be assumed by normal gender stereotyping, it is Lauren who is the treasurer while Bryan serves as secretary” he said.

Fine, who matriculated from Northview High School in 1986 with five distinctions and was awarded a Bachelor of Commerce cum laude in 1989, never set out to be a banker, instead commencing her career with Johannesburg Consolidated Investment (JCI). Thereafter, she spent time touring in the US, worked for Deloitte & Touche and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Management, again cum laude. Her 13-year journey in banking, that would culminate in her appointment as Regional Manager for Stanbic Bank in Botswana, commenced with her appointment to a position with the then "new, up and coming bank" called Investec Bank.

It was during her second year at Stanbic that Fine partook in the Banker of the Year competition, sponsored by the Banking Institute of Botswana. The theme for 2005 was "Customer Education: Towards informed, wiser and more disciplined banking". Fine's eventual success was based on an essay she submitted drawing on her own experiences with regard to the bank's role in the general upliftment of banking skills in Botswana. When questioned by the adjudicators as to why she wanted to win the award, she answered: "Because I do not just want to be an expat in Botswana who comes and goes... I want to make a difference to banking in this country and I want to leave a legacy".