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ABIDJAN - Africa’s largest bank, Standard Bank has opened a fully licensed bank in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire that it says will focus on the needs of Corporate and Investment banking clients, thereby cementing its presence in the Francophone West Africa region.

The Standard Bank Group, now in 20 African markets, including Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa, will operate as Stanbic Bank in Côte d’Ivoire, and will serve multi-national companies - many of whom, the bank says have an existing relationship with the Group.

Standard Bank says it began scoping the market of Côte d’Ivoire as far back as 2013, opening a representative office with a small core team in early 2014. The banks was awarded its banking license in 2016.

Commenting on the launch, Stanbic Bank's CEO for Côte d'Ivoire, Hervé Boyer said: “We look forward to partnering with our clients in Côte d’Ivoire. Côte d’Ivoire’s vibrant financial services sector and competitive banking industry is an excellent launch pad for Standard Bank to expand its services and we look forward to being able to contribute to the economic development of the country.”

“Our strategy is focused on sectors driving Africa’s growth through proactive client partnerships that deliver relevant solutions. We continue to utilise our presence and deep knowledge of the African markets to support our clients’ growth aspirations across the continent and link them to global trade corridors and key financial centres. Kenny Fihla, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive for Corporate and Investment Banking said.

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), of which Côte d’Ivoire is a member, also offers Standard Bank substantial business advantages stemming from its stable single currency pegged to the Euro, shared central bank and stock exchange, as well as its harmonised business legal structures. The country is ideally positioned as a hub for the region which also includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.

Sola David-Borha, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive for Africa Regions said of the opening, “Having an operational presence in Côte d’Ivoire supports Standard Bank’s strategy of being Africa’s leading financial services organisation and our drive to broaden and deepen our footprint on the continent. Standard Bank aims to support the growth of our clients and in so doing, drive inclusive economic growth across the region. Ultimately, that will support sustainable, job-creating growth and wealth creation and deeper integration of African markets into the global economy.”

The bank has said its operations elsewhere in Africa, including in oil-rich Angola and Nigeria, delivered a robust performance while its home market suffered as a weak economy hit both consumption and investment spending.