Standard Chartered announced that it has launched an Africa-Asia Business Unit, based in the Bank's Africa Regional Office in Dubai.
The trade corridors between Africa and Asia are growing rapidly. Trade between Africa and Asia exceeded $120 billion in 2007; India, Japan and Korea accounting for over $45 billion. Trade between Africa and China alone has soared to a staggering $75 billion. Standard Chartered is launching the specialist business unit in order to provide even more support and focus to clients looking to capitalise on these burgeoning opportunities. The Bank operates a cross-border network of branches and operations in key markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and the new Africa-Asia Business Unit will give clients a focal point for leveraging the wider network.
Jonathan Morris, Head of Origination and Client Coverage, Wholesale Bank Africa, said: "The launch of our Africa-Asia Business Unit is an exciting initiative. It will enable us to significantly enhance our service to clients operating in Africa and Asia- facilitating closer trading relationships across this growing trade corridor.
The Bank has deep, local knowledge of both Africa and Asia and will continue to provide the necessary financial tools and strategic advice to Asian companies doing business in Africa -assisting economic development in both regions. "
Trade between Africa and China has grown 43% per annum on a compound basis for the last five years, with total trade now estimated at $75 billion. Although the bulk of Chinese investment in Africa is Government to Government, international banks, such as Standard Chartered continue to play an important role in facilitating the development of a growing China-Africa investment corridor, particularly in the energy, mining and power sectors.
This continued growth requires a range of specialised financial products. Standard Chartered provides Asian companies looking to develop their business in Africa with financial advice and products, helping Asian companies better understand the local financial infrastructure and credit environment and deliver superior products and services in Africa. The new Business Unit will also enhance the Bank's support for its African clients looking to capitalise on the rapid economic growth in Asia by providing increased capacity to exploit new markets and opportunities in Asia.
The Unit will be headed up by Bernard Muema and based in the Bank's Africa Regional Office in Dubai. Dubai is ideally positioned in the Africa-Asia trade corridor. In addition, an increasing number of leading Middle East and international businesses are domiciled in what is one of the Middle East's fastest-growing and most exciting economies.