Africa: Access Bank to Expand to 8 African Countries

21 January 2021

Access Bank Plc has identified eight African countries for a potential expansion as it seeks to benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The Chief Executive Officer, Herbert Wigwe who disclosed this during an investor call event, identified the countries of interest as Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Angola, Namibia and Ethiopia.

The bank already operates in 12 countries following a series of acquisitions spanning from Kenya to Nigeria.

He noted that the bank will set up offices in some countries and in others go into partnerships with existing banks or leverage on its digital platforms to provide services to customers.

It will also use its London-based unit as an "anchor for growth" to expand representative offices in countries such as India, Lebanon and China, the bank's CEO said.

The lender, which is looking to transition to a holding company this year plans to open subsidiaries in insurance brokerage, consumer lending and agency banking as well as payments to boost revenue, Wigwe said.

The Deputy Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna, said the bank will "in another month or two, once the arrangements have been put in place," give clarity on the nature of operations in some of the countries.

The African trade pact aims to bolster intra-regional commerce by lowering or eliminating cross-border tariffs, facilitating the movement of capital and people, promoting investment and paving the way for the establishment of a continental-wide customs union.

The bank plans presence in 22 African countries to cushion challenges in some markets, diversify earnings and take advantage of growth opportunities in the region.

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