South Africa’s FirstRand unveils Africa growth strategy

South African financial services group FirstRand recently outlined a growth strategy with a strong focus on the rest of the African continent.

Sizwe Nxasana

Sizwe Nxasana

In a presentation delivered at the group’s annual general meeting, CEO Sizwe Nxasana revealed that the company is targeting “above average domestic growth markets” and countries that are “strongly positioned to benefit from trade and investment flows between Africa and Asia, particularly China and India”.

FirstRand’s entry strategy into new countries will be a combination of acquiring existing banks and setting-up new businesses, also known as greenfield projects.

The company said it will only consider greenfield projects if new banking licences are available, if the environment is conducive to greenfield businesses and if no suitable acquisitions are available.

FirstRand is the owner a number of banks and financial services companies, including Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), First National Bank (FNB), WesBank and OUTsurance. Outside of South Africa, the company’s African footprint include Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia.

Nxasana identified Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola, Ghana and Kenya as “priority countries” for the group. African countries on the group’s radar for the future include Zimbabwe, Uganda, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Cameroon.

FirstRand also said that it will follow its current corporate clients who are expanding into the rest of Africa.