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BANKING

Sino-Africa M&A: Chinese bring banks into their Africa strategy

Chen Wenjun of the State Council Information Office and Jacko Maree, CEO of Standard Bank, exchange gifts in Johannesburg

Chen Wenjun of the State Council Information Office and Jacko Maree, CEO of Standard Bank, exchange gifts in Johannesburg

The scramble for Africa just became institutionalized. Anyone who thought that the latest round of deals in Africa – led mainly by the Chinese – would be limited to the commodity sector had better revise their views. Two developments in the past month show that the Chinese are willing, even desperate, to take stakes in financial institutions on the continent. All indications suggest that direct investment inflows into Africa, some $39 billion in 2006, according to Unctad, the UN trade and development agency, are likely to be much higher for 2007. Some analysts expect the figure to hit $100 billion by 2010. The first deal, announced on October 31, is a partnership between Nigeria’s United Bank of Africa and China Development Bank. Details on the level of credit available to UBA are not being disclosed but it is understood to be significant.

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