Absa Group plans to kick off expansion in Nigeria in 2019

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Absa Group Limited, a South African financial services provider, says its planned expansion into Nigeria will kick off in the second half (H2) of 2019.

Absa will focus on its corporate and investment bank (CIB) division, Charles Russon, chief executive of the division, reported.

Russon added that he is positive that a strategy plan shared with the bank’s board will be approved in June for implementation to begin shortly thereafter.

“I want the strategy nailed down and approved with our board pretty much at the end of Q2, so that we can start to action that in the second half,” he said.

Russon said although the bank has no plans of making any acquisitions in the sector, it would provide information on how it would fund its operations without a retail deposit base,

Recently, Maria Ramos, Absa’s outgoing group chief executive officer had ruled out the acquisition of a Nigerian bank in the pursuit of its growth strategy.

She said although Nigeria has a “big and exciting banking market”, Absa would build its presence in the country “slowly and organically”, with no plans of becoming a top lender.

Absa, formerly a subsidiary of British banking giant, Barclays, has been eyeing the Nigerian market in the last few years with hopes of increasing its revenue share to 12 % within Africa.

Absa has a representative office in Nigeria and had last year acquired a securities and stockbroking licence “to increase its presence” in the country.

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