FILE PHOTO - People pass by the logo of Standard Chartered plc at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto. Multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered announced the launch of its digital bank in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

JOHANNESBURG - Multinational banking and financial services company Standard Chartered on Friday announced the launch of its digital bank in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe as part of its transformation strategy in Africa, following similar moves in Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana and Kenya during the first quarter of 2019 and in Côte d'Ivoire last year.

The expansion comes amid rising demand for wider access to digital services in Africa, which has a growing population and economy.

"This is a significant achievement for the bank having now launched digital banks in 8 markets in 15 months of our initial launch in Côte d'Ivoire," Standard Chartered regional CEO for  Africa and Middle East Sunil Kaushal said.

"The growing population of Africa is demanding faster and more convenient banking and it has been very rewarding to witness increased acceptance and a growing demand for our digital products across the continent. We have an exciting pipeline of product launches on this platform which will position us as the premier digital bank in our markets of choice.” 

In Côte d’Ivoire the digital bank has exceeded initial expectations with 18,000 new account openings, while in Uganda it has seen an eight-fold increase. In Tanzania the bank has signed up more new customers since launching in March this year than in the whole of 2018.

It is expected to continue its digital expansion in Africa with another launch planned in September for Nigeria. 

Standard Chartered has also launched SC Keyboard, which allows customers to access a variety of financial services from within any social or messaging platform without having to open the banking app. 

Initially launched in Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Tanzania, the solution is a first for the bank in Africa and will be rolled out to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria throughout the rest of the year.

The keyboard-based banking solution allows clients to transfer money in real-time, pay utility bills and instantly check balances from within any social or messaging platform. 

- African News Agency (ANA)