Standard Chartered became the first global bank to open an onshore banking subsidiary in Angola last month. The launch follows the signing of a joint venture with state-owned insurance company Ensa (a firm also engaged in the formation and management of pension funds).
Standard Chartered is the majority stakeholder, with 60% of the share capital of the bank. Ensa holds the remaining 40%. Under Angolan regulations, foreign companies investing in Angola are required to have a local partner.
"Angola is a major oil producer and we hope to take advantage of our existing networks in China, India and Brazil and capitalize on these trade corridors with Angola," says Miguel Bartolomeu Miguel, the newly appointed CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Angola.
Angola is the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa after South Africa and Nigeria, and is Africa’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria. It is also China’s largest African trading partner, largely because of its oil exports.
In October 2013, Angolan authorities introduced a new regulation obliging oil companies to use local banks to pay suppliers, in an attempt to standardize the foreign-exchange system in the sector and increase monetary stability.
"Our timing couldn’t have been better," says Miguel. "Because of Standard Chartered’s international network, we will be the bank of choice for multinationals that need to abide by these new regulations."
South Africa’s Standard Bank, Russian bank VTB and Portugal’s Banco BPI are among the other international players with an onshore presence in Angola.
"Angola, with its deepening economy, is moving from strength to strength and other banks with representative offices in the country will no doubt be looking to upgrade to subsidiaries soon," says Miguel.
Meanwhile, on January 21, Moody’s assigned a first-time Ba3 deposit rating to Banco Angolano de Investimentos with stable outlook: the first bank that the agency has rated in Angola. First bank ratings in the country from other agencies including Fitch are expected to follow.