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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Standard Bank extends co-operation deal with China’s ICBC by 5 years

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Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) last year facilitated trade flows between the continent and China worth $600mn.

In a release announcing a five-year extension of their strategic partnership, Standard Bank said they will continue to lead the Africa-China trade and investment markets, jointly providing “unequalled” expertise and capabilities to individuals and businesses trading between the continent and Beijing.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at Standard Bank’s offices in Johannesburg, South Africa, executives from both sides hailed the success of the partnership, which started 15 years ago.

“This relationship between Standard Bank and ICBC is critical to accelerating Africa’s economic development, broadens China’s relationships with Africa, and gives African exporters access to the world’s largest and most dynamic market,” said Standard Bank group chief executive officer, Sim Tshabalala.

“By jointly endorsing the Belt and Road initiative and leveraging the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), we expect Africa and China to become even more relevant to each other.”

Standard Bank, with ICBC support, has facilitated the growth journeys of over 3,500 Chinese commercial, corporate and state-owned entities across 15 African markets. The bulk of the entities are private firms invested in a broad range of sectors.

They signed the deal on the last day of a three-day summit of five nations – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) in the African nation. Presidents Xi Jinping, (China), Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Brazil) and Cyril Ramaphosa (South Africa); India Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Russia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergei Lavrov attended the summit.

The leaders agreed to make Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt full members of the bloc.

Vladimir Putin participated virtually after the host nation said it would implement an International Criminal Court warrant against him for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

ICBC chairman, Chen Siqing, according to the Standard Bank release, said their collaboration is encouraging “robust and impactful” trade between Africa and China, while having a significant impact on improving the lives of Africa and her people.

“China is Africa’s biggest trade partner, and we want to build on the successes while opening the door to renewed growth,” he said.

“This is especially true in the areas of energy transition which can create sustainable and long-term positive impacts, when we jointly support our respective countries and customers’ journeys to net zero emissions.”


By Thulani Mpofu

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