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Banking

Standard Bank redefines a focus on Africa

Standard Bank has reduced its global presence and seems set on concentrating on tapping investment flows into infrastructure-hungry Africa.

Standard Bank looks likely to benefit from its status as an important African bank. Emerging markets are increasingly attractive for investors, and Standard Bank is one of a few truly regional African investment banks.

"The developed markets are no longer seen as safe havens," says Florian von Hartig, global head of debt capital markets at Standard Bank. "With its lack of exposure to the European debt crisis or to the recent sub-prime problems in the US and an average growth rate of 5%, Africa is starting to feel more and more like one."

The good news for potential investors is that there is no shortage of targets for investment in Africa, and the local markets are unable to provide the full scale of the financing needed.

"There is an endless need for infrastructure finance and improvement in Africa," says von Hartig. "Several of the domestic debt markets have matured but, with the exception of Nigeria and maybe Kenya, they aren’t really deep enough to finance all their own infrastructure needs – meaning the demand for foreign investment is high."

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