New central bank regulations and difficulties in operating outside the domestic environment are not stopping Nigerian banks laying out plans for new pan-African growth.
Up to now, UBA has been the most noted of Nigerian banks for its pan-African business. Between 2008 and 2011, UBA brought the number of African countries in which it operates from two to 19, according to chief executive Phillips Oduoza.
Although the rest of Africa today accounts for only about a quarter of UBA’s assets and revenues and 13% of its profits, the bank hopes that figure will rise to about 50% as the new operations begin to yield higher returns.
Last year, Nigeria’s central bank imposed tighter rules on funding international subsidiaries, part of a wider push to stabilize the sector after a 2009 banking crisis. That will make it harder for others to replicate UBA’s spread, says Oduoza.
Nevertheless, Segun Agbaje, CEO of GT Bank, says his bank is expanding outside west Africa, where it already operates in six countries. In 2013, he hopes to do a small east Africa acquisition for a new sub-regional operation, based in Kenya.
After east Africa – where Agbaje hopes to cover Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – GT’s next step will be Mozambique, Cameroon and ideally Angola, and perhaps new francophone Africa operations, although probably after 2016.
(via Nigerian banks battle for pan-African dominance /Euromoney magazine)