In a venture with Ecobank Transnational to target a region that is increasingly eyed by lenders looking to benefit from faster economic growth, Johannesburg-based Nedbank, one of the largest banks in South Africa, is expanding its wealth business into West Africa’s French-speaking countries.
Nedbank, which is the biggest shareholder in Ecobank with a 21 percent stake, started offering wealth products to the pan-African company’s clients in Ivory Coast. Mark Weston, an executive for Ecobank Investment, said Nedbank wants to replicate the service in Senegal. He said Benin and Burkina Faso may follow thereafter.
In an interview in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Weston said “if we’re going to get value out of our relationship with Ecobank, we really have to explore what we can do here”. He added that “part of that is exploring where we can add value” for Ecobank’s customers in more than 30 countries.
Since 2012, Ivory Coast’s economy has expanded by an annual average of more than 8 percent. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also forecasting growth of more than 6 percent in Senegal in 2018.
Nedbank is not the only financial institution seeking to get into West Africa’s francophone territories. Citigroup has been pushing to fund governments and Standard Bank is aiming to start operations in Senegal after opening a branch in Ivory Coast.