Africa-China Ties Take Centre Stage at Stanbic IBTC Forum

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By Olubori Oduntan

The business community has gained a deeper understanding of the workings of the currency swap agreement between Nigeria and China as a forum organized by Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, put into perspective the growing economic ties between the Asian giant and Africa.

Stanbic IBTC said the forum was meant to provide critical insight into how best to help clients and businesses leverage the opportunity as well as assess the impact of the Chinese economy on trade in Africa. The interactive session tagged ‘A night of Africa-China Connection’ also provided a veritable platform for the bank to showcase its value proposition to the Chinese community in Nigeria.

Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Dr. Demola Sogunle, who was ably represented by the Executive Director, Operations, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, Wole Adeniyi, said a major objective of the conference was to deepen the bank’s connection with the Chinese business community in order to set in motion enablers for a successful execution of the policy and further stimulate the strong trade and business ties between Africa, with special focus on Nigeria and China. He described the agreement as a win-win for all parties as clients and businesses are exposed to business opportunities in Africa and China, while promoting trade in, for and across Africa with a special focus on the Africa-China and China–Africa trade corridor, based on credible and practical information.

It was also an opportunity to shed more light on how the strategic institutional relationship involving the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Standard Bank and Stanbic IBTC will help to drive trade between Africa and China. ICBC, the world’s biggest bank, holds 20 percent stake in Standard Bank, while Standard Bank has 64 percent in Stanbic IBTC. The relationship presents a huge leverage in Africa-China trade ties and has resulted in various initiatives across Africa, ranging from Renminbi trading, to Africa-China business centres, and landmark deals, which collectively constitute Standard Bank’s Africa-China trading corridor.

Mr Sogunle stated that the Standard Bank Group, as an African institution, is committed to driving the growth of Africa by unlocking the abundant opportunities on the continent.

“When we say Africa is our home and that we drive her growth, it is our responsibility to extend ourselves beyond just banking: we must add value by providing exposure, information and our expertise to our clients to foster an environment that facilitates their growth and success,” he said.

The Standard Bank Group’s broad and established footprint across Africa, its sector expertise and networked global capital market presence, including high level access to the Chinese banking system, means that a “gathering of this nature can assemble, identify and unlock key trade and business opportunities on a scale wide enough to transform Nigeria’s growth and development trajectory,” he said.

Stanbic IBTC Bank is part of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, a full service financial services group with a clear focus on three main business pillars – Corporate and Investment Banking, Personal and Business Banking and Wealth Management. Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets and market capitalization. It is rooted in Africa with strategic representation in 20 countries on the African continent. Standard Bank has been in operation for over 155 years and is focused on building first-class, on-the-ground financial services institutions in chosen countries in Africa; and connecting selected emerging markets to Africa by applying sector expertise, particularly in natural resources, power and infrastructure.

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