Lomé, financial capital of Africa
Togo’s banking sector is booming. In recent years, several foreign banking groups with pan-african ambitions have opened their doors in the country and are supporting its economic development.
The financial attractiveness of Lomé is not new. Since 1985, Togo’s capital city, Lomé, has been home to the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), the financial arm of the Economic Community, and the West African Development Bank (BOAD), common to the eight WAEMU member countries. Lomé is also where African banking group Ecobank, the biggest on the continent by number of establishments, chose to set up its new headquarters, facing the Atlantic, in 2011. This decision affirmed the credit granted to Togo by this increasingly powerful private group, especially since its establishment in neighbouring Nigeria. Orabank, the leading pan-african bank in terms of its balance sheet total, also chose Lomé as the location for its headquarters.
The network has doubled in size in 10 years
The political crisis in the country slowed down Togo’s financial ambitions. Since it ended, around ten years ago, the banking network has doubled. In 2005, Togo had only a handful of banks. In 2006, when it set up in the country, Banque Atlantique set in motion a trend that continued to gather momentum. Nigeria’s Diamond Bank opened its branch in 2011, Attijariwafa Bank took over BIA-TOGO in 2013, Bank of Africa entered the market by opening its first agency in Lomé the same year and Orabank merged with the Banque Togolaise de Développement (Togolese Development Bank), when it privatised in 2014. In 2015, following the trend, Coris Bank International and Société Générale were the newcomers, and United Bank for Africa is expected to follow suit.
A bank for every budget
Société Générale is positioning itself in Togo to attract big companies and the State, whose projects it is keen to support, in particular infrastructure. A number of other institutions, such as Attijariwafa Bank, are set on improving the national banked population rate by choosing to woo the general public, pushing into the hinterland to build a clientele of private individuals.
This year Orabank benefited from an African Development Bank loan so that it could better contribute to the financing of SMES and projects developed by young entrepreneurs. This ambition is in line with the Supporting Employability and Youth Inclusion Project (PAEIJ-SP).
An active and attractive market
The reasons for this enthusiasm are numerous, starting with an economic growth above 5% for the past three years. Added to this is the clear improvement in the business climate. In recent years Togo has invested so that it can provide businesses with the administrative and physical infrastructure necessary for their growth. Economic operators, many of whom have taken advantage of these opportunities, attract banking structures keen to be a part of this boom. The political stability of a country that is expecting to reap the dividends from its investments is also likely to reassure businesses.
Bolstered by its economic development, urbanisation and increased infrastructure deployment, Togo is now seeing the emergence of a middle class and an industrial fabric with growing and diversifying banking and financial ser vices needs. Togo’s banked population rate is now the strongest in the WAE MU zone, having risen from 3% to 8.5% in the last five years. According to Central Bank of West African States data, the deposit/gdp ratio is 38%, well above the WAEMU zone average of 25%.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE INVESTMENT AND DEVELOPMENT BANK OF THE CEDEAO (BIDC).
HEADQUARTERS OF THE WEST AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (BOAD).