Standard Chartered Plc, which has operated in Africa for more than 150 years and is present in 15 African countries and active in 36 countries across the continent, sees Nigeria and Kenya as the best opportunities on the continent for its business to expand in 2015.
“We’ll spend a lot of time focused on some of the very large growth opportunities, so Nigeria and Kenya probably being the two most prominent,” Diana Layfield, chief executive officer for Africa at the London-based bank, said in Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s commercial capital.
Standard Chartered doesn’t plan to expand to new markets on the continent this year, Layfield said. “We’ll build the business that we have.”
Standard Chartered is seeking to cut costs of $400 million this year and overall savings of about $1.8 billion through 2017.
The bank’s business in Ivory Coast, the world’s largest cocoa producer, will be “growing strongly” in the next few years, Layfield told reporters. Standard Chartered offers corporate banking in the West African nation and will particularly target faster-growing areas including power, infrastructure and agriculture, Layfield said.
Cote d’Ivoire economy is set to expand 7.9% this year, faster than the sub-Saharan Africa average of 5.1%, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Growth in Kenya is seen at 6.2% by the IMF and at 4.75% in Nigeria.