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    Standard Bank Plans to Enter Morocco, Expand in North Africa

    Morocco’s growing economy and banking industry have attracted the attention of the South African giant.

    02 Nov 2022

    Rabat - Johannesburg-based Standard Bank has announced its plans to expand into North Africa, particularly in Morocco and Egypt.

    Africa’s largest lender by assets plans to enter the continent’s biggest economies to offset competition from foreign and regional banks as well as benefit from potential growth in business operations under the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA).

    In an interview with Bloomberg’s Johannesburg office, Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala said that the bank is considering expansion into Morocco, Egypt, and Cote d’Ivoire, stressing that the lender could benefit from the upscaling of African corporations.

    “Unlike five to 10 years ago, there are a number of African multinationals, who have got regional strategies, as well as international multinationals who are operating in countries where we don’t operate in,” Tshabalala commented.

    The CEO stressed that these companies want to work with Standard bank in countries that are located “outside [the bank’s] existing network.”

    In September, the executive shared that the South African bank is considering expanding beyond sub-Saharan Africa “for the first time” to serve multinational corporations operating in Arabic-speaking countries.

    Given that Morocco and Egypt have well-developed banking sectors and are “the most attractive Mediterranean-facing economies,” Tshabalala argued that the two markets provide solid growth opportunities for the bank’s services, targeting high-net-worth individuals, businesses, and corporations.

    Details on Standard Bank’s expansion into the Moroccan market are yet to be announced.

    The bank’s potential operations in the North African market are likely to overlap with the services of well-established regional banks such as Attijariwafa Bank, Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), and Bank of Africa that enjoy significant customer bases consisting of students, small and medium-sized businesses, corporates, and investors.

    In August, Forbes named the three banks among the “Top 30 Banks in the Middle East” for 2022.

    Last year, Attijariwafa Bank, BCP, and Bank of Africa managed more than one-fifth of the banking market in West African countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, and Senegal, among others.

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