Standard Bank – trading as Stanbic Bank – has been formally awarded a banking license in Côte d’Ivoire. The Group opened a Representative Office in December 2013, signalling a drive towards establishing a presence in Francophone 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 GDP growth rates, expected to maintain 7% 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 Hervé Boyer.
Mr Boyer 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 license 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 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 harmonized 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 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.
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.