In a further step to cementing its presence in the Francophone West Africa region, Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank has opened a fully licensed bank focussing on the needs of Corporate and Investment banking clients in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Standard Bank Group, now in 20 African markets which include Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, will operate as Stanbic Bank in Côte d’Ivoire, and will serve multi-national companies, many of whom already have a relationship with the Group in other parts of the continent or internationally.
Standard Bank began scoping the market of Côte d’Ivoire in 2013, and a representative office was opened by a small core team in early 2014. Standard Bank was awarded a banking license in 2016.
Commenting on the launch, Stanbic Bank’s CEO for Côte d’Ivoire, Hervé Boyer said: “We look forward to partnering with our clients in Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire’s vibrant financial services sector and competitive banking industry is an excellent launch pad for Standard Bank to expand its services and we look forward to being able to contribute to the economic development of the country.”
Côte d’Ivoire is one of the region’s fastest-growing economies, with annual GDP growth of 8%, a rate that is expected to be maintained over the next three to five years.
Kenny Fihla, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive for Corporate and Investment Banking said: “Our strategy is focused on sectors driving Africa’s growth through proactive client partnerships that deliver relevant solutions. We continue to utilise our presence and deep knowledge of the African markets to support our clients’ growth aspirations across the continent and link them to global trade corridors and key financial centres.
“This is the culmination of a deliberate drive by Standard Bank to establish a presence in the Francophone West Africa region with its diverse, rapidly growing economies and business-friendly reputation.”
The key drivers behind the country’s well-diversified 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.
The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), of which Côte d’Ivoire is a member, also offers Standard Bank substantial business advantages stemming from its stable single currency pegged to the Euro, shared central bank and stock exchange, as well as its harmonised business legal structures. The country is ideally positioned as a hub for the region which also includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.
Sola David-Borha, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive for Africa Regions said of the opening, “Having an operational presence in Côte d’Ivoire supports Standard Bank’s strategy of being Africa’s leading financial services organisation and our drive to broaden and deepen our footprint on the continent. Standard Bank aims to support the growth of our clients and in so doing, drive inclusive economic growth across the region. Ultimately, that will support sustainable, job-creating growth and wealth creation and deeper integration of African markets into the global economy.”
Standard Bank’s Africa business has tripled its revenue contribution to overall Group income – up to over R26bn in 2017 from R10bn in 2010. The Bank has played a significant role in infrastructural development on the continent, facilitating access to global capital for clients, deepening domestic and regional capital markets and driving growth.
Standard Bank recently announced the completion of its core banking and IT infrastructure upgrade across all 20 of its Africa markets. Its unique on-the-ground presence and physical infrastructure, in addition to being digitally enabled, links Africans to each other and the world.
About Standard Bank Group
Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets with a unique footprint across 20 African countries. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with share code SBK, and the Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB. Standard Bank has a 155-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise outside southern Africa in the early 1990s. Our strategic position, which enables us to connect Africa to other select emerging markets as well as pools of capital in developed markets, and our balanced portfolio of businesses, provide significant opportunities for growth. The group has more than 54 000 employees, approximately 1 200 branches and 9 000 ATMs on the African continent, which enable it to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management. Headline earnings for 2017 were R26 billion (about USD2 billion) and total assets were R2 trillion (about USD165 billion). Standard Bank’s market capitalisation at 31 December 2017 was R317 billion (USD28 billion). The group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20,1% shareholding. In addition, Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates trade and deal flow between Africa, China and select emerging markets. For further information, go to www.standardbank.com and www.stanbicbank.com.ci