Standard Bank to expand in Angola
Johannesburg - Standard Bank Group [JSE:SBK], Africa's biggest bank by assets, plans to open 12 new branches in Angola this year, bank officials said on Friday.
Standard acquired regulatory approval to start business in the southern African nation last year and has been concentrating on corporate banking there.
"So far we have opened one branch and this year the plan is to expand that to 12 more and we will be able to offer a full banking service," Vincent Magwenya, director of communications at Standard Bank's Africa unit said at a media briefing on Friday.
Angola, Africa's second-largest oil producer, has increasingly been seen as an important target for South African banks and corporates, as surging oil prices have underpinned rapid growth.
Rival Absa Group [JSE:ASA] was also considering moving back into Angola after leaving a few years ago.
Jacques Taylor, Standard Bank Africa head of agriculture, said the bank's focus in Angola would be on mining and agriculture.
"We expect agriculture this year to contribute close to 40% of our asset growth in Africa," Taylor said.
Standard has said it will provide $100m to farmers in four African countries in a three-year period to help boost production and economic growth.