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Absa Group mulls entry into Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Angolan markets

12 Mar 2019, 04:56 pm
Financial Nigeria
Absa Group mulls entry into Nigerian, Ethiopian, and Angolan markets

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The bank considers Nigeria as key to future growth, while identifying Angola as attractive.

Absa Group headquarters, South Africa

Absa Group Limited, a South African financial services provider, has disclosed that it is considering entering Ethiopia and other growth markets, including Nigeria and Angola.

The ongoing reformation of Ethiopia by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has caught the attention of multinational corporations looking to expand their footprints across Africa. Since coming into power in April 2018, the Prime Minister has embarked on political, diplomatic and economic reforms aimed at liberalizing the Ethiopian economy, which hitherto prohibited foreign ownership.

Jason Quinn, Absa Group’s financial director, told Reuters on Monday that Absa is investigating how and where to enter with regard to a number of growth markets, including Nigeria and Angola.

“We are not in Ethiopia at all, so those would be the type of markets we’d look at over time,” Quinn said, while also noting that it would be hard for Absa to build a retail banking business from scratch. This would leave the more likely option of acquisition.

The South African bank, formerly Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, had laid out an expansion plan as part of its strategy following the divestment of British investment bank, Barclays, in 2017.

According to Absa, Nigeria is key to future growth. Quinn noted that there is “nice opportunity” for Absa in corporate and investment banking in Nigeria, while Angola and Egypt are considered attractive.

Absa, which currently has a presence in about 11 African countries, wants to double its share of revenues on the continent to 12 per cent. According to its annual results, earnings from its operations in Africa grew by 9 per cent in 2018.

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