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Standard Chartered launches SME China Africa network

Peter Egwuatu
Standard Chartered Nigeria has launched a Premium Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) China Africa network, just as it celebrated the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

The bank in a statement made available to Vanguard said, “ SME African network provides Chinese-owned SMEs in Africa with unique banking services. It also provides personalised service from dedicated Chinese-speaking Relationship Managers, access to branches in China for cross-border account opening, cost savings and highly competitive trade services and cash management solutions.”

The bank said it remains confident in the long-term resilience of the Africa-China trade and investment corridor, despite the global economic downturn.

According to Christopher Knight, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria’s CEO:”Despite the current global financial crisis, the economic partnership between Africa and China has slowly extended beyond the supply of natural resources. Both Nigeria and China have an emerging middle class with rising incomes, who have been increasingly buying and trading their manufactured products, consumer goods and foods. The development of trade relationships between Africa, China and the rest of Asia is laying the foundations for further trade diversification – a mutually beneficial development during the current global economic environment.

The Bank has a deep local knowledge of both Africa and China and will continue to provide the necessary financial tools and strategic advice to Chinese companies doing business in Africa -assisting economic development in both regions”.

It would be recalled recently Standard Chartered Plc, SCB Nigeria’s parent institution announced a seventh successive year of record income ($15.18 billion) and operating profit before tax ($5.15 billion) during 2009, demonstrating the underlying strength and momentum across its markets and businesses, despite the ongoing adverse global economic conditions. The Group’s strong liquidity and capital position has enabled it to continue building its market share across its footprint, generating positive business momentum into 2010.

SCB Africa also recorded an excellent set of numbers in 2009: income growth increased by 20% to $1.09billion and operating profits increased by 54% to $482million. Both the Consumer and Wholesale Banking businesses showed very good momentum, recording double digit, broad based income growth. Wholesale Banking delivered an exceptional performance, growing income by 30 per cent and deepening client relationships across the region.

Consumer Banking growth was driven by SME and Wealth Management, whilst liability products benefitted from the flight to quality in the wake of the financial crisis.

Commenting on the Africa results, Mike Hart, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Africa, said: “Africa recorded extremely strong income and profit growth in 2009, driven by an exceptional performance in our Wholesale Banking business. Across the region we remain in a position of strength- our balance sheet remains in very good shape with liquidity closely managed, whilst the investments we have made in our distribution channels, in our products, our services, our people and our systems are realising immediate value. We continue to differentiate our brand and have confidence in our strategy for long-term, sustainable growth”.


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