The Casablanca based lender CFG bank is planning to expand its services to other West African French-speaking countries. This comes after becoming one of the biggest lenders in Morocco. It is planning to begin its expansion by using Senegal or Ivory Coast as its entry route for its operations in asset management. According to Amethis Finance’s regional head for Western and Central Africa Laureen Kouassi-Olsson, the bank is looking forward to initiating what it calls ‘strategic alliances’ in one of the countries by 2019. Amethis Finance is a privately owned equity company. It recently bought 13% shares in CFG Bank.
Olsson added that the company considers acquisition as a way of giving customers an access and also a way that it can reform. She says that the two countries are first viewed at an angle of asset management. This is before considering expansion and retail. CFG Bank started to offer its banking services back in 2015 and so far it has 13 branches across Morocco. Additionally, it majors in digital offering. It is looking forward to having the two biggest economies of Monetary Union and West African Economic. Monetary Union is an economic block made up of seven Francophone countries and Guinea Bissau. The entire eight countries economic block uses a single currency called CFA Franc. They also share the Abidjan based stoke exchange Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres.
Getting into the region will only be cementing the strong presence of Moroccan based banks in West Africa. Currently, three different banks from Morocco have made inroads into the region. These are BMCE Bank Group, Attijariwafa Bank, and Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire. They made the move after making an acquisition in Mali, Senegal and Ivory Coast. Based in Johannesburg Standard Bank Group Ltd. is the largest lender in Africa. In its report in April this year it said that it is planning to expand into Senegal. This is after putting up a branch in Ivory Coast.
Amethis in partnership with AfricInvest, a private investment company channeled $32 million into CFG bank in April this year. The two are having a combined ownership of 24% of the CFG Bank. According to Salim Rais CFG’s head of strategy and finance director, the lender is also looking forward to increasing its asset management venture in ECOWAS. Based in Paris, Amethis is working on raising the second fund of Africa worth around $418 million. Its first round was worth $334 million. Investments mainly went to the financial-services sector, agri-business, and consumer goods industries.
Amethis first launched in Ivory Coast in 2012 and it has managed to invest $142 million in five different businesses. The businesses include Petro Ivoire SA oil and gas distribution company, NSIA Banque insurance and banking firm. It has also invested in a number of hospitals. It bought 18% of shares in Fidelity Bank Ltd. Based in Accra alongside Edmond de Rothschild group.