Standard Chartered said last week that it expects the African continent to become a “huge” banking market, as companies borrow more to expand throughout the region and into the lucrative Asian markets.
“The high growth areas are likely to be global markets, such as foreign exchange and corporate finance,” Sherazam Mazari, chief executive officer for Africa said in an interview in London.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development conference in London, Mazari was optimistic that “debt capital markets are going to be huge.”
Growth in African wholesale banking is also boosted by South African companies expanding into Asia, he said.
Standard Chartered, which has been operating in Africa for 144 years, has got 140 branches across the continent, including the heavily populated Nigerian market.
However, it is facing increasing competition from its Western rivals, such as Barclays Plc, the UK’s third biggest bank by market value, which is expanding into the continent after buying the South African outfit Absa Group last year.
UBS AG, Europe’s largest bank by assets, also indicated that it is gearing to form a joint venture with United Bank for Africa Plc to provide investment and asset management services in Nigeria.
“Competition is good for customers,” Mazari said, adding that “ it also keeps people on their toes.”
Standard Chartered is currently working with African regulators and central banks to “build the right credit environment”.