Moroccan bank, KCB ink deal for Kenya expansion plan

Morocco’s royal family-owned lender Attijariwafa Bank has inked a trade finance co-operation agreement with KCB Group with an eye on local trade deals.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on the sidelines of the 6th International Forum Africa Development (FIAD 2019) held from March 14 to 15 in Casablanca, Morocco will see, Attijariwafa Bank, one of Morrocco’s largest lenders, gain access to the Kenyan and regional markets through KCB Group.

“This memorandum of understanding is very important for the Attijariwafa Bank group and will allow economic operators in all the countries where the group is present to access the Kenyan market but also to all the markets that KCB covers level of East Africa,” said Attijariwafa Bank CEO Mohamed El Kettani in a statement. KCB operational director Samuel Makome represented Kenya’s biggest bank by assets at the ceremony.

The bank, however, had not provided additional details on the MoU by the time of going to press. Business Daily has however learned that the deal will open the door for the Moroccan lender to enter the local and regional market where KCB operates.

Attijariwafa last November said it plans to launch a new acquisition push in East Africa before end of 2019, starting with Rwanda, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Attijariwafa, controlled by the royal family through its Al Mada holding company, already has subsidiaries in Cameroon, Congo Republic, Egypt, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Tunisia and Togo. It also has branches in Europe and the Gulf.

“We have opportunities in Rwanda. We are also considering opportunities in Kenya and Ethiopia,” Youssef Rouissi, the bank’s deputy general manager for global corporate investment banking, was quoted saying then.

“The idea is to acquire banks that are ranked among the first five banks in every market,” he said while speaking on the sidelines of an investment conference in Johannesburg.

Several international banks want in on the regional market as they seek to tap new East Africa deals.They include New York-based lender JPMorgan Chase and one of Russia’s largest privately owned banks, Promsvyazbank, both of which have said they are mulling over expanding operations into Kenya.

SBM Holdings, Mauritius’s second-biggest lender, acquired Fidelity Commercial Bank and Chase Bank and has since kicked off expansion in East Africa.

Meanwhile, KCB said earlier this month that it is aiming to be the first Kenyan bank to venture into Ethiopia as the Abiy Ahmed-led government opens up to foreign investment in the banking sector.

Source: Business Daily Newspaper.

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