Africa is very much on the horizon for Standard Chartered in 2020. Regional CEO Sunil Kaushal talks to Dianna Games about prospects for growth on the continent, the potential benefits of China's Belt and Road Initiative, and its digital and sustainability strategies
Standard Chartered is optimistic about the opportunities for growth in 2020 and beyond as it moves into a future-ready space, embracing sustainable finance and digital banking alongside other profitable enterprise.
Sunil Kaushal, regional CEO Africa and Middle East for Standard Chartered says the company remains focused on its unique strengths while exploring new initiatives.
Africa is very much on the radar. Kaushal reckons the two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, both have potential to contribute to growth in 2020, despite the fact they have been performing well below their potential in recent times.
Nigeria, he says, saw a strong oil sector recovery in 2019 and recent changes in legislation will have a positive impact on the state's revenue share from oil production. The bank also expects fiscal and monetary policy to provide more support for the non-oil growth outlook in 2020.
South Africa's recovery hinges on its ability to carry out proposed reforms in its power sector, which remains vulnerable to significant risk, as rising debt and power cuts in 2019 have shown. However, balance-sheet repair by households and higher investment from a low base favour rising growth, he says.
He says growth in Africa broadly is expected to come from an array of sectors from infrastructure to renewable energy and agricultural technology: "The commodity-driven boom in Africa may be over, but a new, more resilient kind of growth is taking root in the continent, one that is driven by economic and social reforms and a focus on non-oil sectors."
Growth in African markets in 2019 was driven by strategic priorities including digital transformation, sustainable finance, growing the group's network, and trade and investment.
"We have made significant investments in exciting transformative initiatives while also becoming agile in capturing attractive opportunities in markets like Nigeria and Kenya, which remain the largest markets for us in Africa."
The bank remains focused on facilitating cross-border trade and investment into and out of Africa.
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