Nigeria’s Biggest Bank Selects Eight African Nations For Expansion

Access Bank Plc, Nigeria’s largest lender, as it seeks to benefit from a continental-wide free trade agreement, has listed eight African countries for possible expansion.

“On Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Wigwe said on an investor call, Access Bank plans “to expand to high-potential markets, leveraging the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Region. Following a series of acquisitions stretching from Kenya to its home market, the company now operates in 12 countries.

According to an online presentation sent by the Lagos-based lender, the markets of concern are Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Angola, Namibia and Ethiopia.

It will also use its London-based unit to expand representative offices in countries such as India, Lebanon and China as an anchor for expansion, the CEO said.

By reducing or removing cross-border tariffs, enabling the movement of capital and people, encouraging investment and paving the way for the creation of a continental-wide customs union, the African trade agreement aims to enhance intra-regional trade.

Ultimately, Access Bank aims to expand into 22 African countries in order to mitigate difficulties in certain regions, diversify revenues and take advantage of the region’s growth opportunities.

The lender, which is looking to convert this year to a holding firm, plans to open insurance brokerage, consumer finance and agency banking branches as well as revenue-boosting fees, Wigwe said.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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