Tanzania’s CRDB Bank Plc is crossing national borders for the first time  as it launches a new branch in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, before the end of the year.

CRDB Bank General Manager in Burundi, Bruce Mwile, confirmed this to the East African News Agency (EANA) over the phone. “The branch will be opened in Bujumbura this year but I cannot tell you exactly when as there are some matters which need to be finalised first,” he said.

In establishing the bank at Burundi, CRDB Bank will become the second indigenous financial outfit to have branches outside the country after Exim Bank expanded to The Comoros Islands. The only East African bank which has aggressively invested in all five partner states so far is the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB).

Meanwhile, Mwile said the Dar es Salaam-listed company is building the subsidiary bank Bujumbura, Burundi to act as a springboard for more branches in the tea and coffee exporting neighbouring country.

“We are currently constructing the head office building here (Bujumbura) and we will have more branches in the city,” he said.

CRDB Bank Managing Director, Dr Charles Kimei, had revealed last June in Arusha, that the opening of the new office in Burundi was supposed to have been fully operational last month, but it was delayed for logistic reasons.

“Our target is to grow the bank into a financial giant in East and Central Africa,’’ had Kimei revealed at a media conference.

Burundi is one of the five member states and a growing stable market within the revived East African Community (EAC). Other members are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. The grouping has a Customs Union, a Common Market protocol and plans to move on to monetary union.

Speaking on the new move, the Chief Executive Officer of International Business and Management Consultant Ltd, Simon Mapolu commended that “CRDB Bank transforms into reality the East African Community ambition for the member states to trade beyond their borders.’’

He believes the move will give the Tanzanian company international exposure to compete professionally and effectively in a global landscape while improving its profit margin and dividends for the shareholders.

The treasury coffers too, will be beefed up with more taxes, he said.


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