Unleashing Africa’s growth

Published: May 1, 2024

Co-published editorial | The power of partnerships and targeted investment in delivering sustainable impact

Africa is at a turning point; with a GDP nearing $3 trillion, Africa’s economic and development potential is undeniable, and the continent’s influence is growing globally, notably marked by the African Union’s recent entry into the G20 – now the G21 – a premier grouping of country and regional bloc members shaping international economic cooperation.  Populated by the globe’s youngest demographic, the continent boasts the world’s largest free trade area, and is rich with vast mineral deposits and natural resources, positioning it favourably for a dominant role in the global energy transition.

Constantly reinforcing misnomers, such as the “African economy”, suggesting the continent is a monolithic unit, creates misperceptions about the real market opportunities that exists on the continent and grossly distorts the risks of doing business here. In my experience, most African markets provide exciting untapped potential and unique opportunities for those who dare to look for it and invest for the long run.  Certainly, like any intricate society, there are risks to doing business in many African countries, but this isn’t dissimilar to the reality of doing business in most emerging markets around the globe.

Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) recognises the inherent value of Africa and its people.  Our rise to becoming Africa’s premier bank by assets is bolstered by our presence in major financial hubs across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and China.  This powerful network allows us to link clients from these economic epicentres to Africa’s growth hotspots.  Beyond moving capital, we enable and foster business relationships, cultivate investment, and drive Africa’s economic diversification and development.  

Our approach to doing business on this continent is nuanced by country and region. Through our deep insights of key sectors, and by understanding regional dynamics, we are forging enduring partnerships with corporate clients and governments to drive positive impact.

Our emphasis is on industrial evolution with our clients.  This includes expanding agri-processing to substituting imports with local content and subsequently championing the expert of soft commodities. 

We see infrastructure as a backbone for development, and we are actively investing into the expansion of ports, roads, and rail infrastructure to remove barriers to trade.  Our support of technological advancements in telecommunication services and the generation and distribution of power is anchored on uplifting the communities we serve; in 2023 we financed R5, 39 of renewable energy for every R1 lent towards non-renewable energy, demonstrating our commitment to harnessing Africa’s naturally replenishing resources to advance its path towards industrialisation.

Our collaboration though public-private partnerships (PPPs) signals a progressive move from traditional debt-led infrastructure projects.  We strategically align with local entrepreneurs, recognising their indispensable role in fostering sustained growth and industry diversification.

We pride ourselves on our in-depth product expertise in Investment Banking, Transaction Banking, and Global Markets.  Our world class team, equipped with profound local insights and adeptness at navigating the intricate terrains of these markets, sets us apart.    We aim to be the foremost Africa corporate and investment bank in our selected markets, dedicated to driving positive impact across the continent.

Africa’s potential is vast.  At Standard Bank, we are not just in awe of the trajectory of its growth and potential – we are actively and passionately shaping it.