Investment case for Africa now stronger than ever, says Ecobank

Dele Babade, head of Togo-based Ecobank Capital, says that the investment case for Africa is now stronger than it has ever been before.

“Direct foreign investment in the continent [is] forecast to reach US$150 billion by 2015,” he said in a statement prepared to announce the opening of the London branch of EBI SA, Ecobank’s French subsidiary.

Tony Okpanachi, Ecobank Kenya’s managing director, said that the new London office is critical for the bank’s development and will bring financial services to the doorstep of 200,000 Kenyans living in London.

Ecobank is trying to win business from international investors interested in the African continent.

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated was born in 1985 from a desire by West African business leaders for a regional private sector owned and managed bank. In the early 1980s, the banking industry in West Africa was dominated by state-owned and foreign lenders.

Today Ecobank has a presence in 30 African countries. The bank’s international distribution platform includes an affiliate in Paris and offices in Dubai and Johannesburg. It hopes to soon have a presence in Beijing and New York.

In 2008, Ecobank also established and alliance with South Africa’s fourth largest lender, Nedbank.

Consulting firm Accenture noted in a recent report that due to growing income levels, many Africans are embracing financial services. A considerable number of African and international banks are, therefore, already positioning themselves to capitalise on the continent’s underserved markets.