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Ecobank Positions Itself To Be Hub For Indian Investment In Africa

posted 12 Apr 2013, 15:31 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Apr 2013, 15:32 ]

Pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational has partnered with India's second largest bank ICICI, in a bid to position itself as the hub for Indian investment into AfricaLondon-listed Standard Chartered bank will invest 100 million US dollars to double its size of business in Africa within the next five years.

 LAGOSNIGERIA (APRIL 8, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Pan-African lender Ecobank Transnational recently signed a memorandum of understanding to partner with India's second largest bank ICICI to make itself a hub for Indian investment into Africa.

CEO Thierry Tanoh told a Reuters Africa Investment Summit the idea was to attract South-South (developing country) investors to go through Ecobank, in order to do business in sub-Saharan Africa.

Tano said that a similar alliance with South Africa's Nedbank, had helped it gain better access to markets in southern Africa.

"This is a unique platform that is present for business people working in sub-saharan but also for 'south-south' business. You know there is a lot of business coming from Asia into Africa, more trades from Latin America also to Lusophone countries and I'm sure we're going to see even more from India and the recent BRICS summit in Durban I think puts even more and faces-on south-south businesses and this is again a place where Ecobank, its alliance that it has, we have you know alliance with banks in India for example; it's going to capitalize on its presence to make sure it's the partner of choice when it comes to trade in Africa," Tanoh, who has headed up the bank since October last year, told the summit.

He added that the bank was forecasting an increase in deposits of 20 percent and revenue growth of 15 percent for 2013.

Ecobank, which has operations in 33 countries posted a record pretax profit of 348 million dollars for 2012, an increase of 25 percent on the previous year, results released last month showed.

The Togo-headquartered bank grew its loan book to 10 billion dollars last year against 15 billion dollars in customer deposits and total assets of 20 billion dollars.

Tanoh said those results were driven in part by the successful integration of the acquisitions of Nigeria's Oceanic Bank and Ghana's The Trust Bank.

He said Ecobank was also seeking to profit from growing intra-African trade flows, which he expected to increase as the continent builds infrastructure and develops.

"We are starting to see much more demand from the people and much more pressure I think from the private sector to behave and from governments, I think also, to support the economic growth of the country. There's a strong desire I think for the middle class to have more access to consumer goods, to access to decent housing and so consumption is growing. In 2050 it is projected that sub-saharan Africa will be the youngest continent on this planet. A a result you will see different trends of demand from population on this continent that will require a much better infrastructure, that will require the banking sector to play a stronger role, that requires better regulations to support I think the economic growth," Tanoh said.

Standard Chartered is investing 100 million US dollars in Africa aimed at doubling the size of its business on the continent in the next five years. Its profit from Africajumped 23 percent to 771 million US dollars in 2012, its chief executive officer said on Tuesday (April 09).

The bank is also scaling up its business in Angola, where it recently inked a deal for a 60 percent stake in a joint venture bank with state-owned insurer ENSA.

"We are very optimistic about the continent as a whole and we met with our investors at the end of last year and announced that we had a clear strategy to double the size of our business in Africa over the next five years, so I think its fair to say that we have across the board expansion plans for our clear markets in Africa," said chief executive for Africa Diana Layfield.

The London-listed bank saw 28 percent growth in its South African business last year and is now looking to court local retailers, many of which are based in Cape Town, and trading houses operating in Durban.

While Standard Chartered is dwarfed in South Africa by domestic powerhouses like Standard Bank and FirstRand, it is looking to use its presence in at least 15 African countries to win business from companies looking north.