Stan­dard Bank group ex­pands to West Africa

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Busi­ness Re­porter

STAN­DARD Bank – trad­ing as Stan­bic Bank – has been for­mally awarded a bank­ing li­cence in Côte d’Ivoire.

The mile­stone marks the for­ward move­ment of Stan­dard Bank into Fran­co­phone West Africa.

The group opened a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of­fice in De­cem­ber 2013, sig­nalling a drive to­wards es­tab­lish­ing a pres­ence in West Africa, and is now gear­ing up to com­mence bank­ing op­er­a­tions in a mar­ket, which stands out for its di­verse, rapidly grow­ing econ­omy and busi­ness friendly rep­u­ta­tion.

The coun­try cur­rently en­joys one of sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa’s fastest gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) growth rates, ex­pected to main­tain seven per­cent or more over the next three years.

“We are de­lighted to be ac­tively ex­pand­ing into this at­trac­tive mar­ket along­side many of our ex­ist­ing multi-na­tional cor­po­rate clients and look for­ward to part­ner­ing with them and other play­ers, as well as sup­port­ing en­ter­prises con­sid­er­ing en­ter­ing Côte d’Ivoire and the wider re­gion for the first time”, says Stan­bic Bank CEO Mr Hervé Boyer.

He says Stan­bic Bank in Côte d’Ivoire will pro­vide the same high qual­ity cor­po­rate and in­vest­ment bank­ing prod­ucts, ad­vice and ser­vice ex­pe­ri­ence that cus­tomers have come to ex­pect across the con­ti­nent.

This most re­cent bank­ing li­cence is seen as a mile­stone for Stan­dard Bank Group, Africa’s largest lender by as­sets, which prizes its ‘ on-the-ground’ foot­print across the con­ti­nent, now 20 coun­tries, and views its abil­ity to sup­port clients lo­cally as a defin­ing com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage.

The mostly French speak­ing West African Eco­nomic and Mon­e­tary Union (UEMOA) re­gion was iden­ti­fied as a key growth op­por­tu­nity and an ex­cel­lent strate­gic fit for the group, which has com­mit­ted to play a lead­ing role in driv­ing Africa’s growth.

“With the ad­di­tion of Côte d’Ivoire to our port­fo­lio, we will be able to meet our clients’ bank­ing needs in one of the con­ti­nent’s most ex­cit­ing growth re­gions”, says Mr Vic­tor Wil­liams, head of cor­po­rate and in­vest­ment bank­ing for Africa.

UEMOA as a whole is re­garded as hav­ing sub­stan­tial busi­ness ad­van­tages stem­ming from its stable sin­gle cur­rency, shared cen­tral bank and stock ex­change, as well as its in­creas­ingly har­monised busi­ness le­gal struc­tures and bur­geon­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Côte d’Ivoire is ide­ally po­si­tioned as a hub for the re­gion, which also in­cludes Benin, Burk­ina Faso, Guinea-Bis­sau, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Niger, Sene­gal, and Togo.

The key driv­ers be­hind Côte d’Ivoire’s well­diver­sifi eco­nomic growth are pub­lic in­vest­ment led ini­tia­tives in power and in­fra­struc­ture in con­junc­tion with suc­cess­ful pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships, nat­u­ral re­sources (oil, gas and min­ing), agri­cul­ture, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, and the coun­try’s con­sumer mar­ket – all linked to core sec­tors of ac­tiv­ity for Stan­dard Bank.

As a bank rooted in Africa with a 153 year his­tory, Stan­dard Bank is com­mit­ted to broad­en­ing and deep­en­ing its foot­print on a con­ti­nent we call home and to be­ing Africa’s lead­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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