From this month, (October), new laws in Angola involving payments by oil companies will provide a major windfall for the country's banks, given the size of the oil sector. Questions remain whether the banks will have the capacity to handle such large transactions or if the increased liquidity will have the positive impact on the economy as envisaged by the government.
“Anyone who thinks there’s safety in numbers hasn’t looked at the stock market pages”, a very wise person once said. Glamorous, fast-moving, adrenaline-fuelled, cosmopolitan, merciless and volatile, stock markets are as powerful in symbol as they are in substance. They are surely one of the most central tropes of the modern financial system. Or even modernism itself. Contrary to popular perceptions, stock markets are no longer restricted to Paternoster Square or Wall Street. Africa is home to dozens of stock exchanges; and the industry is growing. But what is the reality behind the facade? Is talk of expansion premature?
Wherever there is money, there is also a thief lurking about. In the old days, armed gangs targeted banks while the smaller fry limited themselves to burglary and pickpocketing. Now, in the digital age, organised cyber criminals are helping themselves to vast fortunes. Richard Seymour analyses the current level of bank security in Africa and the efforts that are being made to beat the crook.
UBA, ONE OF NIGERIA’S BIG FIVE BANKS, appears to have bounced back strongly after a difficult 2011 when it reported a loss. After a rigorous cleaning up of its balance sheet and putting its house in order, it has announced record first quarter results.
African Banker spoke with the bank’s CEO, Phillips Oduoza (above, centre), on the turnaround in the bank and the outlook for the industry.
Like many of the current crop of top bankers across Africa, he started at Citibank, on their executive training programme.
Oduoza is a considered a true banker, having worked across most departments in the bank: audit, financial control, risk, treasury and also had a stint in other departments such as marketing and HR, giving him what he refers to as ‘an edge’ over others.
He is, as he himself admits, a hands-on manager who wants to be in touch with all aspects of the bank at all times and someone with a keen eye for detail. He left Citi quite early in his career to become one of the pioneer team that helped to build Diamond Bank to become one of Nigeria’s most successful franchises.
Oduoza is an engineer by education although he went straight into banking. He went on to gain an MBA and various executive qualifications. A keen traveller, Oduoza has travelled to over 200 countries. Those who know him say he is not a big risk taker, but at the same time ‘he is not risk averse’, although he does like to ‘ponder and take his time before taking a final decision on an issue’. A keen golfer he plays to a handicap of 12.
It is beyond dispute that small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) form the backbone of wealth and job creation in any society. But access to capital, the vital life force of business, remains a major stumbling block to them. This is doubly so when firms try to obtain venture capital. But help is at hand. Anver Versi reports on an exciting project by an international firm that has set itself the task of solving just this problem.
Reuel Khoza (pictured), the chairman of one of South Africa's big four banks, Nedbank has unleashed a storm of controversy after slamming the conduct of the government in the bank's annual report. At issue is the question of how far business should, or should not, involve itself in national governance.
Mozambique has one of the smallest banking sectors for a country of its size on the African continent. Yet the growing number of banks operating in the country, steady increases in the size of retail networks and the focus on grassroots banking all suggest that the market is set for substantial growth over the next few years.
It may be a long time before Mozambican financial institution feature in the upper echelons of African Business’s survey of the Top 250 banks in Africa but they will surely play an important role in ensuring that the benefits of the country’s burgeoning export industries help to drive wider economic development.