South Africa’s FirstRand bank is intent on securing Ghana’s Merchant Bank, despite allegations of improper process in the acquisition approval.

FirstRand remains hopeful that the deal will go through, as it currently awaits approval by the Bank of Ghana allowing the conclusion of the transaction.

The transaction came under scrutiny earlier this year when allegations of improper approval of loans to current Ghanaian President John Mahama’s brother began to circulate.  The deal was put on hold in the aftermath of the allegations, but FirstRand maintains hope that the transaction will be approved and can move forward – as the investment bank has long-reaching plans in the West African country.

“At the moment we still remain focused on the Merchant bank acquisition, we still are hopeful that it will go through. I think it makes sense for both countries, both for Merchant bank and for ourselves and so we are hoping that we don’t have to look at another thing in the short term and that we can actually secure Merchant bank and start to build our business properly,” Head of Infrastructure Finance for Rand Merchant Bank, Ato Gyasi, told Citi Business News.

While FirstRand intends to launch operations in Ghana in the near future, Gyasi went on to underline the Bank’s commitment to entering through the Merchant bank acquisition, saying: “It’s the country we are looking at so one way of the other, we intend to play in this market but at the moment, we are focused on Merchant bank in terms of coming into this market.”

As the largest bank in Africa – which also boasts a fully African shareholding, having no foreign investors – FirstRand is a proud supporter of developing an African home-grown economy.

Gyasi concluded with the assurances that: “Firstly we are proud of the fact that we are a fully African Bank,” he then added: “we are not coming to this market to just look around, play games and go on, no.”


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