We are a Pan-African group, inspired by the people we serve and determined to be a globally respected organisation of which Africa can be proud.
We have operated in Africa for over 100 years. We are committed to finding tailored solutions to uniquely local challenges, and everything we do focuses on creating value for our stakeholders.
As a financial services provider, we play an integral role in the economic life of individuals, businesses, and nations. We empower and enable – from investing in our employees to uplifting our communities and enabling our customers’ ambitions.
We unlock opportunities through imagination, energy and passion, finding innovative solutions.
Listed on the JSE, the Absa Group is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services groups with a presence in 15 countries.
We own Banks1 in banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania (Absa Bank Tanzania and National Bank of Commerce), Uganda and Zambia as well as insurance operations in Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia. We also have representative offices in Namibia, Nigeria and securities entities in the United Kingdom and the United States as well as an IT specialist office in the Czech Republic.
1 Banks are wholly owned apart from the following where we hold majority stakes: Botswana 67.8%, Kenya 68.5%, Mozambique 98.7%, National Bank of Commerce, Tanzania 55% and Seychelles 99.8%.
What is our purpose?
Purpose is at the core of everything we do
Absa aspires to be a truly purpose-led organisation. This means making a proud and positive contribution to the world around us and putting our purpose at the core of everything we do.
This year, we began an immersive and inclusive journey to assess whether our purpose statement, bringing possibilities to life, continues to reflect who we want to be as a business. We started by unpacking the building blocks that sit at the intersection of what the world needs, what we have to offer, and what will make us proud. To do this, we conducted offsite workshops with our senior leadership team, engaged with our employees through surveys and virtual platforms, and held discussions with the Board and ExCo. What emerged were key themes around our role in powering Africa’s possibilities, enabling our clients to realise their dreams, investing in people and exemplifying integrity. Building on
this input, we finalised our new purpose statement in January 2023:
Empowering Africa's tomorrow, together
...one story at a time
Each word signifies a clear meaning and emotion:
As a financial institution we empower and enable – from investing in our colleagues to uplifting our communities and enabling our clients’ ambitions.
Empowering is active, every moment, walking together as partners.
We unlock opportunities for our clients through imagination, energy and passion, and finding innovative solutions.
Empowering ensures we invest in people and their capabilities.
Our heartbeat is African. We are committed to a Pan-African presence and contribution.
We cherish our home; we care for it, and we invest in it.
We feel a sense of wellbeing and warmth. Africa is a home we are proud of.
It is the continent of our birth more than 100 years ago.
We value our heritage and embrace the challenge of reimagining a better tomorrow – for our colleagues, our
clients, and our communities.
We know that every action we take, has a consequence for a meaningful tomorrow.
We relentlessly deliver on our commitments today with a long-term mindset through good times and bad.
We are stewards of a sustainably better world. Tomorrow embodies the aspiration of youth and future generations.
Tomorrow represents one day to many years.
We are a trusted and caring partner, committed to working with all our stakeholders.
We embrace diversity and inclusivity. This strengthens us, unleashes everyone’s full energy and enables better outcomes.
We are a collective, holding ourselves and each other accountable for our outcomes.
We are stronger together than alone.
We listen to many perspectives while remaining decisive.
We work together to bring our strategic ambitions to life.
...one story at a time
Brick by brick we build a masterpiece – no matter how big or small.
We embrace Africa’s heritage of storytelling. Stories bind us.
We see you. We hear your story – it inspires us to act and
grounds us in what is real.
We believe that being purpose-led is essential, enabling the Group to navigate difficult choices with agility and ensuring we meet the needs of our broader stakeholders while also rallying and inspiring our people and clients. Ultimately, an embedded sense of purpose will support our long-term sustainability. Part of delivering on this purpose is having clear leadership commitments.
We drive high performance to achieve sustainable results
- We are accountable for our results
- We innovate, are decisive, and act quickly
- We learn from our failures, and we are bold enough to change course.
Our employees are our strength
- We integrate diverse perspectives to invent the future
- We collaborate with courage, honesty and powerful energy
- We trust, value and grow our employees to achieve their full potential.
We are obsessed with the customer
- We are curious, and we anticipate customers’ needs
- We each take ownership of delivering the One Absa customer experience
- We outperform by going beyond customer expectations.
We have an African heartbeat
- We deliver a uniquely Absa experience, across Africa
- We co-create across Africa to provide better solutions
- We actively engage with our communities to bring people’s possibilities to life.
The Absa Way Code of Ethics
The Absa Way Code of Ethics outlines our values and expected behaviours when engaging with our fellow employees, customers and clients, shareholders, governments, regulators, business partners, suppliers, competitors and the broader community.
Sustainability policy and summary sector financing standards
An active force for good in everything we do
We want to drive measurable, material change in our communities in a way that brings our purpose to life, differentiates us and strengthens our business. To do this, we have identified three specific ESG focus areas where we will invest to deliver a truly ambitious agenda: financial inclusion, diversity and inclusion, and climate. We selected these areas by considering the importance of the different ESG topics for our stakeholders, the potential impact on our business, and our strengths and assets. We will continue to deliver on our broader ESG agenda in line with our robust risk management processes.
We have selected strategic focus areas with actions to accelerate our journey with purpose:
As a universal bank, we are uniquely positioned to make a substantive difference in extending financial inclusion to underserved groups and desire to make inter-generational wealth creation accessible to all. We have been active in this space, with examples including the expansion of our affordable housing mortgage portfolio enabled through an International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) loan, our Sernick Developing Farmers programme, and our inclusive, entry-level banking propositions. We aim to scale our efforts going forward.
Making inter-generational wealth creation accessible to all:
- Equitable access for underbanked communities – both individuals and SMEs, and with a particular focus on youth and women
- Ability to meet the full set of financial needs across transactional banking, credit, insurance, and wealth accumulation
- Products and services that are affordable and responsibly delivered.
Diversity and inclusion
Internal and external stakeholders cite diversity and inclusion as critical topics and enablers in unleashing our talent and delivering outperformance. We aspire to enable all our people to bring their true selves to work and aim to be a beacon of inclusion across the continent. We have set clear targets for transformation and diversity and want to address inclusion more explicitly.
Enabling all our people to bring their true selves to work, and be a beacon of inclusion externally across the continent. This means not only unleashing our talent internally to outperform, but also supporting and enabling diversity and inclusion with our suppliers, clients, and communities we operate in:
- Disadvantaged demographics (gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disabilities etc.) are fairly represented at each level of the organisation
- High share of employees that perceive they are accepted members of the workforce. Perceptions are not skewed to specific demographics.
It is critical to investors, regulators and other stakeholders that the irreversible impact of climate change risk is incorporated into decision-making and planning, and that compelling business opportunities, such as green product offerings, be incorporated into our core business.
Our climate strategy has four components: financed emissions targets; green business opportunities; climate risk processes and governance; and external engagement. We have set our net-zero ambition in line with our goal of becoming Africa’s leader in sustainable finance.
Reaching net zero by 2050 and becoming Africa’s leader in sustainable finance:
- Raise the bar on external engagement on our ambition and progress
- Develop sector-specific pathways with a thorough analysis of the trade-offs involved.
Our approach to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment
Absa supports a vision of a non-racial, non-sexist democratic society creating opportunities for all people to prosper.
We are committed to using our financial resources, the expertise of our people and our infrastructure to promote inclusive growth in the societies in which we operate. We aim to achieve this in a meaningful and sustainable way and do so as we simultaneously transform our own organisation. We are a values-based organisation, driving a culture of fairness and equal opportunity.
In South Africa, we embrace the principles of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Amendment Act, which serves as the basis for the Department of Trade and Industry’s Financial Sector Code (FSC).