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Private banking in Africa: Winning over the continent's wealthy

The slow and steady rise of high net-worth individuals across Africa has piqued the interest of wealth managers. But who has the upper hand – regional players close to their clients, or global names with solid reputations?

Margaret Nienaber-600

Margaret Nienaber, global head of Standard Bank’s private clients business, says: "There is an increasing need for wealth managers to embrace the local culture, economy and regulatory environments of specific jurisdictions in Africa."

Out of the ashes of Angola’s 27-year-long civil war has risen one of Africa’s richest countries. Since the war ended in 2002, the country has been able to exploit its vast oil and diamond reserves. Angola is the fifth largest source of diamonds in the world and pumping out around 1.7 billion barrels of oil a day, it is close to overtaking Nigeria as the region’s largest oil producer.

On the back of the boom, the number of high net-worth individuals in Angola has soared from 1,100 in 2000 to 6,400 in 2013, according to a report by consultants New World Wealth. 

Much of west and southern Africa, as in Angola, has benefited from a commodities boom over the last two decades. The impact of the slump in commodity prices in general and the oil price in particular has yet to be felt. In east Africa, entrepreneurs are being created from the developing agriculture, services and technology sectors. 

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