Standard Bank expands to Francophone Africa
Standard Bank’s plans in Côte d’Ivoire
Have you heard about Standard Bank’s plans to expand in Francophone Africa? It’s true! Two years ago the bank (which also trades as Stanbic Bank) set up a representative office in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire’s capital city) so as to familiarise themselves with the local market.
Recently Standard Bank managed to acquire a full banking license in Côte d’Ivoire and they plan to use the local market as their point of launching their expansion across the Francophone Africa region.
Why Standard Bank is expanding in Francophone Africa
Stanbic Bank Côte d’Ivoire’s CEO, Hervé Boyer, has stated that existing clients, mainly from South Africa, has been expressing a growing interest in doing business in Côte d’Ivoire. The growing interest from these clients has substantiated sufficient cause for the bank to expand within the region as well, so as to meet the potential growth to be expected in the country.
Standard Bank will initially concentrate on corporate and investment banking and will focus on gaining interest from South African businesses to expand in Côte d’Ivoire.
“Our strategy is to first [focus] on the bank’s existing clients who are already in the region, or who are planning to operate in the region. We are also going to try to bring more South African entities to Côte d’Ivoire.” Boyer told “How we made it in Africa” – (Stanbic Bank Côte d’Ivoire’s CEO, Hervé Boyer in a discussion with How we made it in Africa.)
Advantages of trading in Francophone Africa
According to Boyer the French-speaking countries (which make up the West African Economic and Monetary Union) offer considerable business advantages due to their economic and monetary integration and stability. These eight member states share the West African CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
He states that these countries aren’t faced with issues like currency devaluation, like in Ghana and Nigeria, due to being a Euro-based economy with a low inflation rate.
Boyer also mentions that the existence of one central bank to cover the eight Francophone African countries serves as a powerful tool. This allows the centralised, standardised system; one stock exchange, one legal framework. In other words it is a harmonised framework between the eight countries.
Standard Bank in Africa
The Standard Bank group, now in 20 African markets, aims to open its first branch in Abidjan by the end of the first quarter of 2017. According to Boyer, around 60% of the market share is held by five banks and there is potential for Standard Bank to introduce retail banking operations. However, he added the strategy is to grow slowly.
“We are starting from scratch… and building a personal banking operation is very costly. So let’s start with our existing clients, go really slowly and learn from our [experience in the market]. After that we can move on into the personal and business banking sector.”
Read more about this topic by visiting How we Made it in Africa.
Jobs in Francophone Africa
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