Sim Tshabalala, joint group chief executive of Standard Bank, explains how the continent’s biggest bank will benefit from Africa’s coming renewal.
Global Finance: What makes Standard Bank the best bank in Africa?
Sim Tshabalala: We’re grateful for the accolade. We aim to provide consistently excellent service to our customers in the 20 African countries where we operate and to link Africa’s economies to the rest of the world; and we like to think that our more than 150 years in Africa gives us unmatched expertise in identifying opportunities throughout our very diverse continent.
GF: What is your strategy for future growth?
Tshabalala: We are primarily focused on organic growth in market share, looking particularly at growing with Africa’s emerging entrepreneurs. We are also supporting the expansion of African and multinational corporations in Africa. In addition, we are facilitating China-Africa trade and investment in partnership with our 20% shareholder, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
GF: Are you seeing an increase in intra-African trade and investment?
Tshabalala: While 2016 was a particularly tough year for the economies of many African countries, we are confident that they will pick up again in 2017, along with intra-African trade. Taking a longer view, we’re equally confident that intra-African trade will continue to develop in line with increasing urbanization and regional integration, probably led by the East African Community, where intra-EAC trade has increased by over 300% over the past decade.