Standard Bank moving to expand its reach

Standard Bank Group is open to acquisitions in Kenya and Nigeria as it tries to increase its presence throughout Africa in light of the escalating competition in its home market of South Africa.

In a recent interview, CEO Sim Tshabalala stated that Standard is trying to expand beyond its core markets and explore new areas in order to take advantage of the region’s growing demand for cross-border banking services.

He stated, making reference to Kenya and Nigeria, that: “if there was an appropriately priced asset with acceptable risk, we would definitely look at acquiring.”

Due to its ownership of IBTC Chartered Bank, Standard already has a presence in Nigeria. It also has a foothold in Kenya where it conducts business as Stanbic Bank.

Tshabalala’s remarks, however, imply that the banking group is aware of the importance of both Nigeria and Kenya, two of the continent’s largest and fastest-growing economies, for pan-African growth.

He noted the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) gradual but consistent development, saying: “unlike five to 10 years ago, there are a number of African multinationals, who have got regional strategies, as well as international multinationals who are operating in countries where we don’t operate in.”

In addition to Nigeria and Kenya, he also mentioned Ethiopia, which, although being the continent’s second-largest country by population, trails South Africa and Nigeria significantly in terms of GDP.

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