As the world’s second fastest growing region, Africa’s banking sector is becoming more attractive to a diversity of stakeholders. The demand for banking and financial services on the continent is expanding alongside the acceleration of intra-African trade and population growth. Across sub-Saharan Africa only about a quarter of adults have formal bank accounts and only 3% have credit cards.
Major international banks, in both Western and emerging economies are looking to tap into the continent’s economic growth and vast market. Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, and China Exim Bank, to name a few, are expanding their operations into Africa. However, these international banks compete with African regional banks that emerged within the last decade, especially since the global financial crisis. The dominance by international banks of former colonial powers is increasingly rivalled by Pan African banks, which are investing ambitiously in technology, and are becoming ubiquitous across the continent.
As Africa becomes the new frontier of global finance, who are the winners and the losers of this changing financial landscape? What are the impacts of the increasingly competitive financial sector on African economies? How can African economies position themselves to benefit from this diversity of banking institutions?