Standard Bank, ICBC Provide $8.5b for Africa projects
The Standard Bank Group and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) have provided $8.5 billion financing support for 35 projects in Africa, Standard Bank Group has said.
According to a report provided at the ongoing Standard Bank Group trans-regional conference in Lagos, the deal, which involves Chinese companies, is a product of five-year strategic alliance between both lenders.
Standard Bank has also called for increasing general trade between African countries and reassured on its commitment to connecting clients to opportunities in Africa.
The bank is escalating its highly successful trans-regional trade and business conferences into a broadly inclusive pan-African initiative aimed at driving collective growth across the continent.
Standard Bank has hosted two previous conferences in 2016: in Accra focusing on West Africa, and in Nairobi focusing on East Africa. These separate gatherings brought together clients, trade experts and client relationship managers from the countries in each of these regions.
“Our previous conferences showed us the scale of the opportunity for growing intra-African trade, especially the potential for cross-border trade, to change the growth trajectory of the continent,” Chief Executive Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank, Zweli Manyathi said.
In addition to providing critical insight into how best to help clients leverage Africa’s full cross-border potential, “we also realised that increasing trade was a pan-African, and not just a regional opportunity, for the continent,” he added.
On average, regional trade accounts for about 50 per cent of most regions’ trade flows. In Asia – the world’s fastest growing region – regional trade accounts for up to 70 per cent of some countries’ trade flows.
Since intra-regional trade in Africa currently accounts for only 12 per cent of trade flows, Standard Bank has identified the rapid promotion of continental trade as a key priority in achieving the kind of growth that will transform the lives of ordinary Africans.
“If the continent can increase trade between African countries to the global average – that is from 12 per cent to 50 per cent – the continent will be far less reliant on global trade and investment for its own growth. This will also mean that, for the first time in history Africa will be able to set and drive its own investment and growth agenda – independently”.