ABSA, a South African-based financial services provider is seeking to extend its presence into Ethiopia. The banking giant, which also offers services and loans to wholesale and retail businesses in other African countries like Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, is hoping to increase its banking revenue through expansion into the East African country.
The country’s banking sector had been closely managed by the government and has continued to reject foreign ownership. But following the introduction of Ethiopia’s privatization agenda by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in 2018, ABSA and other lenders are hoping that the sector will be liberalised, therefore creating an avenue for foreign investments.
The Chief Financial Officer of ABSA, Jason Quinn has explained the organization’s intention of acquiring existing retail banking businesses as opposed to building one from scratch. With Ethiopia’s population of 100 million people alongside its growing economy, the planned expansion will be in line with the company’s strategy for growth. This strategy was made after its split from Britain’s Barclays in 2017.
“Our overriding goal is to become a banking group of which Africa can be proud, a forward-looking African business that recognizes our African heritage, rooted in Africa, with global reach,” said Barclays Africa Group CEO, Maria Ramos. “We have a clear and undiluted ambition to double our market share of African banking revenues to 12 percent.”
ABSA has also stated its interest in other African countries like Nigeria, Egypt and Angola. Nigeria, for instance, has continued to serve as one of Africa’s biggest markets, thus providing a good opportunity for ABSA in corporate and investment banking.
ABSA Bank is now rated as South Africa’s third-biggest lender even as it continues to map out aggressive plans to expand its business across the African continent.