The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Africa needs international banks – and they need Africa

Absa’s efforts to establish wholesale-banking partnerships outside Africa, possibly with Barclays or Société Générale, underlines the importance of international links to African finance.


With the launch of its London office in September, Absa came up with a new slogan: “Proudly African. Truly Global. That’s Absa.” The insistence on the truth of its global nature here almost suggests it is aspirational, at least by comparison to a firm like Barclays, or indeed SocGen.

There is no replacing the on-the-ground knowledge that local operations bring to banks like Absa and SocGen. But in return, the global networks of banks outside Africa can offer access to investors and to hard-currency liquidity, which many African banks cannot achieve on their own. They might also have a more developed product offering and bigger sector teams. This is especially the case when the regional bank has a grounding in retail and is either young or newly independent, as Absa is.

Up to now, the international banks in Africa have tended to focus on corporate banking for their home-country clients, leaving local firms such as Kenya’s Equity Bank or South Africa’s First National Bank (once part of Barclays) to innovate and grow on the retail side.

Better balance

Today, SocGen’s strategy in Africa, though still heavily weighted towards corporate banking, is to target local clients by building up markets and structured finance teams.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree