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JOHANNESBURG - Absa Group Limited on Wednesday night, celebrated the renaming and relaunching of the group -- a move aimed at stressing the brand's African focus -- with the continent's first live drone light show in Johannesburg.

“The spectacle has been set against the cosmopolitan backdrop of the Johannesburg skyline and highlights the new strategic direction of the bank which is to be a digitally led organisation using technology to bring to life its purpose and serve its customers,” Absa Group head of group marketing, David Wingfield, said in a statement.

“We are committed to building on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank to continue working towards becoming a digitally led African bank equipped to meet its citizens’ needs and bring their possibility to life.” 



The group said the drone light show was "heralding a new era for the bank in its push to become a forward-looking African bank in a digital age".

In a statement, Absa Goup said it partnered with Intel to host the live drone show, that embodied the Absa's new purpose of “bringing your possibility to life”.

"The drone show was animated by the same animator who flew over 1,200 Intel Shooting Star drones above PyeongChang for the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Winter Games, breaking a Guinness World Records title," Absa Group said.

Absa added that all care was taken to ensure the safety and security of the public and observers during the live drown show event. 

"Intel and its partners have obtained the necessary South African Civil Aviation Authority and Department of Transport approvals to execute this once-off event."

Earlier on Wednesday, Barclays Africa began trading under the name of Absa Group Limited, in a move aimed at stressing the brand's African focus, as that of the British bank shifts to its domestic market.

"The name change marks the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African group with a new brand design fit for a forward-looking business in a digital age. No longer just a South African brand, the new Absa Group has a presence in 12 African countries and plans to open international offices in the [United Kingdom] UK and the [United States] US," the bank said.

Absa launched a new growth strategy in March as it separated from Barclays PLC, which sold most of its controlling share in Absa last year.

Absa group chief executive Maria Ramos said: “Our new name and brand are an expression of our new purpose and strategic direction, which commits us to growing in Africa... We are rallying around a shared sense of purpose and identity while celebrating our diversity.”


Absa is Africa's third biggest lender.

It said in renaming Barclays banks across Africa, it will be able to "build on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank".

“We would like to build the brand as a bank that Africa’s people can be proud of, a truly independent African bank with global scalability,” said Ramos. 

“A single brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy; we are excited by the enormous opportunity we have to create a bank that Africa can be proud of.”

Absa will roll out its new brand design in Barclays banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by mid-2020, subject to approvals including from regulators in those countries. 

The bank said the rebranding would not affect its service.

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- African News Agency (ANA)