Last year South Africa-based Standard Bank made its intention clear about taking its investment portfolio into West Africa, especially in Francophone Africa, the region where it is less known.
Now that the bank is operating in Ivory Coast – where it opened an office in November last year – it plans to use its presence there to expand its services across the rest of Francophone Africa to stamp its authority and status of the continent’s largest bank in assets and market capitalisation.
The lender believes it is poised to experience an investment boom as foreign companies are lured by the region’s mineral wealth and economic growth.
The financial institution, headquartered in Johannesburg, said its Ivory Coast office is currently servicing its 145 clients with operations in Francophone Africa in sectors such as mining, oil and gas, infrastructure, power and energy, and fast moving consumer goods.
“It’s fair to say that we will be using the Ivory Coast office as a launchpad into the rest of the region,” Greg Goeller, of the Corporate and Investment Banking unit, said.
“Francophone West Africa is less well-known to South Africans but it cannot be ignored due to the economic potential,” he added.
“The region has all the components to benefit from the next global mining and infrastructure boom, which in turn will lead to economic growth in other sectors as well. Our clients are increasing presence and exposure to West Francophone Africa and we plan to follow them.”