Tuesday, January 31, 2012

'Banking' on Angola's Future

Angola's soaring economy has excited the interest of foreign investors since peace returned to the country some ten years ago. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the booming banking sector.

Luanda, the capital, is now the third-largest financial centre in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Johannesburg and Lagos.  Hosting 20 commercial banks, compared to just six in 1999, Luanda currently has a further ten more banks awaiting operating licenses.  The total banking sector in Angola to date has over 700 branches, 11,000 employees and net assets $4.3 billion; remarkable growth considering the total rebuilding of the sector and country after the cessation of the war.

South Africa’s Standard Bank recently opened a branch in Luanda, becoming the first non-Portuguese foreign bank to offer full banking services in Angola. Meanwhile, the first private equity fund exclusively for Angolan investment has been launched and brokers are now moving in ahead of the opening of Luanda’s stock exchange – Bolsa de Valores e Derivativos de Angola (BVDA). 

The idea for the private equity fund came from the state-owned Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund). Promoting the fund in partnership with Norfund is Angola’s largest commercial bank, Banco Africano de Investimentos (BAI). The two have made a joint commitment of $15 million after the initial round of a financing agreement valued at $28 million. 

Bringing new direct foreign investment into the economy is also firmly on the agenda of Angolan banks. BAI has overseas branches in Cape Verde and Portugal and recently opened a representative office in Johannesburg, the first Angolan bank to do so.

Building on its South African ambitions, BAI announced in December that it would be managing a $255 million credit line from the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the African Development Bank.

The credit line, signed during Angolan President Jos√© Eduardo dos Santos’s visit to South Africa, was the first of its kind between the two countries and will finance infrastructure and development projects. It mirrors a model used by Angola and the China Development Bank.

Another bank also spreading its wings is BPA. Despite opening only in 2006, BPA already has a branch in Portugal, dealings in Brazil and China, and plans to launch operations in the United States by 2013. (Sonangol Universo Magazine)


Positive yet perplexed said...

Thanks for this very interesting posting. I am very interested in Angolan stories of development and would like to contact people I could interview in Luanda for a possible film. Please let me know whether you have any contacts there.
Juan Pablo Raymond

Chong Elaina Olivia ("CEO") said...

Appreciate the information on this posting. We're from a construction group in Singapore and have tied up with a local Angolan partner to build a small township of social housing. We're kicking off with a ground breaking sometime mid 2012 - it will be a first in terms of a Singapore-Angolan collaboration on a integrated development. Your information and blog has been a great source of update and insight for the Singapore team!

Cheap Flights to Luanda said...

Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life - and travel - leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.