At first glance, South Africa is in a position of near-crisis. Its economic growth is sluggish, its government is making a series of unpopular decisions, and a severe drought is denting its agricultural output. However, the private sect seems to approve of the country's new finance minister, and the rand is showing signs of stability. So is there cause for optimism? James King investigates.
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Though South Africa's economy is cooling, its banks are continuing to perform strongly. For some, growth is coming from operations elsewhere in Africa, while for others its is stemming from the domestic market. James King looks at the strategies being employed to keep the country's lenders buoyant in a slow-growth environment.
Although infrastructure across the continent is crying out for investment, the pro-business environment in east Africa makes the region particularly attractive for lenders. However, the challenge for both local and international banks is finding well-structured and bankable deals, as James King discovers.
As the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development celebrates its silver anniversary, president Suma Chakrabarti tells Stefanie Linhardt why the bank is looking south to the Mediterranean and beyond in search of new opportunities.
As trade and co-operation has increased across east Africa, so has cross-border banking, with Kenyan lenders leading the way. But although this move is spreading new technologies and services while increasing competition, are there sufficient supervisory structures in place? James King investigates.
The governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, tells James King about efforts to combat rising inflation and the impact of a devastating drought on the country’s economic outlook.
Kenya plays host to some of Africa's more established pan-regional banks, but with 41 lenders active in the country many claim that it is overbanked. Attempts are being made to increase capital requirements and suspend any new licences with the intention of kick-starting a consolidation drive, but those who oppose such measures are making their presence felt.
The high levels of merger and acquisition activity seen in the Middle East and Africa banking sector – from both overseas names and domestic companies – shows that the economic and political turbulence much of the region has experienced in recent years has not dampened investors' appetites.
Economic problems at home and lower profits elsewhere in Africa mean Nigerian banks are having to revisit their strategies for growth across the continent, but what will be the consequences for the countries that they are winding down in or even exiting from?
As borrowing in dollars becomes increasingly expensive, the appetite for bonds in indigenous denominations in Africa is strengthening across the sub-Saharan region. However, longer yield curves and cross-border issuance will be necessary for continuing growth.