24 May 2019
Societe Generale, a leading European bank with operations in 19 African countries, and Absa Group Limited (“Absa”), a leading financial services group in Africa with presence in 12 countries, announced in January a commercial agreement on a combined wholesale banking offer to better serve their clients in their financial needs across the African continent.
This agreement includes notably a combined offering dedicated to Chinese companies operating in Africa which would allow them to benefit from an expanded geographical reach with complementary banking products and services including dedicated China business desks in key African countries.
Through the commercial agreement and with the objective to help Chinese clients in their development in Africa, Societe Generale and Absa aim to provide a unique, truly pan-African wholesale banking offering, leveraging on both banks’ geographical complementarity and wholesale banking expertise including cross-border business risk management.
In this context, Societe Generale and Absa co-hosted today a first corporate forum in Beijing with Chinese clients to discuss on the business environment in Africa, their banking needs in the continent and the combined offering through the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two banks. Pierre-Yves Bonnet, Group Country Head and Chairman for Societe Generale China, Yann De Nanteuil, Deputy Head of Africa for Societe Generale and Anand Naidoo, Managing Executive of Client Coverage at Absa, hosted the event along with financial experts and economists who draw an overview of the opportunities and challenges in Africa facing Chinese corporates.
Yann De Nanteuil, Deputy Head of Africa and Overseas for Societe Generale, comments: “Societe Generale is delighted with the success of this first event with Absa dedicated to Chinese corporates. By leveraging on our Group’s expertise in providing a wide range of banking solutions in Africa including corporate and investment solutions, we are convinced this joint offering will allow us to better service Chinese corporate clients in expanding their business across the African continent.”
“Over 2019-2023, half of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are projected to be African. In fact the continent actually represented the second fasted growing economy globally over the preceding 5, 10 and 20 years. The impressive investment returns in Africa require Chinese corporate to partner with trusted adviser in the region to help manage the complexity and risks associated. We are committed to arming our clients with local expertise and global experience to capitalize on the opportunities presented in the continent.” added Anand Naidoo, Managing Executive of Client Coverage in Absa.
Under the guidance of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China and African countries continue to strengthen their cooperation. In the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in 2019, China and Africa have established a comprehensive framework for the development of BRI to meet the rising demand of financing and risk management needs. The flourishing development of BRI is fully aligned with the common commitment of Societe Generale and Absa to design and provide corporates with diverse wholesale banking offerings such as export finance, infrastructure financing advisory and capabilities or trade and cash management solutions.
Pierre-Yves Bonnet, Group Country Head and Chairman for Societe Generale China, said: “Thirty-Seven African countries and the African Union Commission have signed the BRI cooperation agreement with China, outnumbering the Asian countries that did so last year. With its long presence in Africa, Societe Generale is pleased to offer corporate clients a wider range of banking offerings under the commercial agreement with Absa to address increasingly sophisticated banking needs of Chinese companies.”
Since establishing the first presence in Africa in 1911, Societe Generale has been contributing to the sustainable development of Africa. Early in 2014, Societe Generale in China launched the “Africa Express” program, leveraging the Group’s global network to help Chinese enterprises grow in Africa. To date, Societe Generale’s network covers 19 countries, with about 1,000 retail branches, providing 150,000 corporate clients with trade and cash management services, investment banking solutions as well as risk hedging market solutions. Leveraging on its recognized know-how in structured finance and its long-term commitment for the sustainable development of Africa, the Group also supports its clients in their infrastructure financing needs, especially in energy, transport, water and waste management, and the development of sustainable cities.
Absa is one of Africa’s largest universal financial services group and a systemic important bank in 10 of the 12 presence markets. Its offering across the African continent includes a range of retail, business, corporate and investment, and wealth management solutions. With a history on the continent dating back over 100 years, Absa employs around 42,000 staffs across the continent.