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BANKING

Mauritius Best Bank:State Bank of Mauritius

Botswana I Ethopia I The Gambia I Ghana I Kenya I Malawi I Mauritius I Namibia I Nigeria I Senegal I South Africa I Swaziland I Tanzania I Togo I Uganda I Zambia I Zimbabwe Mauritius is one of the most developed economies in Africa – classed as middle income, with GDP per capita of $13,100 in 2005 – so the slowing of economic growth to 3% in 2005 from the 5% to 6% common in previous years has been disappointing. But the government appears to have the right priorities and is committed to developing the country as a financial centre. Mauritius now houses more than 9,000 offshore entities, many aimed at commerce in India and South Africa, and investment in the banking sector now exceeds $1 billion.

State Bank of Mauritius (SBM) is the second-largest bank, with a market share of about 25% of domestic banking assets. In 2005, South Africa’s Nedcor sold its 20.1% stake in SBM back to the bank itself and took over 100% of an offshore banking joint venture it had earlier set up with SBM, SBM Nedcor International. SBM’s renewed focus on its domestic market has paid dividends and assets increased more than 15% in 2005 compared with less than 5% at Mauritius Commercial Bank, the largest bank.

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