In any economy, banks play the critical role of re-allocating capital, from surplus areas into deficit areas. It is a role that sees them take deposits from the public and use the same to issue loans to businesses, both large and small. But that process hasn’t been happening much in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, banks, motivated by risk-aversion, have been funneling liquidity into the coffers of governments through government-issued debt securities. SSA banks must get back to the business of lending to the private sector if they are to escalate shareholder returns.
Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei, Managing Director and CEO of Keystone Bank, to discuss the bank’s digital strategy, new product offerings and his own role at the bank.
Nigeria is known as the “Giant of Africa” due to its substantial population and economy to match. Its banks are constantly challenged to meet evolving needs, and one bank in particular, Keystone Bank Limited, stands out for its determination to do just that. Having recently undergone a management transition, Keystone has a fresh vision and willingness to do all it can to make its customer service dependable and convenient.
By the end of August 2016, official data had confirmed that the second quarter of the year had seen a 2-percent contraction in Nigeria’s economy, from the same three-month period in 2015. Given that this was the second consecutive quarter of negative GDP (gross domestic product) growth, it meant that Africa’s biggest economy had slipped into a recession—a situation from which it is yet to escape.
Africa is known as a resource-rich continent. It is now also becoming rich in growing consumer markets. Multinationals, hotels and even luxury-goods retailers are setting up shop across the continent, seeing it as the last great emerging opportunity.
For investors with an appetite for high returns even if they are seasoned with high risk, investment in frontier markets, the smallest economies in the developing world, may be worth considering. The best approach is to allocate only a small portion of a portfolio to these potentially profitable but likely volatile markets.
Newly elected Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who incorporated staunch anti-corruption promises in his election campaign, is faced with an evolving corruption scandal involving senior officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as a number of Nigerian commercial bank managers.