Ecobank Partners ICICI To Boost Indo-African Trade

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) has entered into partnership with India’s largest private sector bank, ICICI Bank, to establish itself as a hub for Indian investment into Africa.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by both parties to seal the pact recently. The agreement involves both parties collaborating to extend banking services across their combined footprint in India and Africa.

India’s trade in Africa has grown in recent years. In the last seven years, India and Africa trade volume have grown five folds.

Apart from projects like the rural electrification plant at Burkina Faso, cassava plantation in Cameroon and a cement plant in Djibouti; India also have investments in Africa’s pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, fertilisers, oil & gas as well as IT and infrastructure sectors.

“In 2011-12, exports from Africa to India stood at $43 billion, and imports from India stood at $23 billion, with Africa’s exports being double that of India,” India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur said in March.

Speaking on the partnership, ETI’s CEO, Thierry Tanoh, affirmed at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit that the Memorandum of Understanding signed with ICICI is similar to the one the lender had with South Africa’s Nedbank, which had helped it gain better access to markets in southern Africa.

“What we are trying to do is become the partner of choice when it comes to dealing with sub-Saharan Africa,” Tanoh said.

“The idea is to attract South-South (developing country) investors to go through our bank, in order to do business in sub-Saharan Africa.”

On his part, President, International Banking Group, ICICI Bank, Vijay Chandok, said “This MoU will allow ICICI Bank and Ecobank to leverage their combined expertise, strong local knowledge and corporate relationships to support Indo-African businesses.”

Meanwhile, Tanoh revealed that the bank hopes to increase in deposit and revenue growth in 2013 by 20 and 15 percent respectively.

Financial report of the bank released in March revealed that the pan-African bank, with operations in about 35 African countries, posted a pretax profit of $348 million for 2012, an increase of 25 percent on the previous year.

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