Standard Bank to set up offices in Ethiopia, Ivory Coast
JOHANNESBURG Aug 19 (Reuters) - Standard Bank Group is setting up representative offices in Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, the lender's latest push into sub Saharan Africa, where it already has operations 18 countries.
Standard Bank has scaled back its businesses in Britain, Russia and Argentina to concentrate on Africa, which is increasingly benefiting from more deals and a growing middle class.
The bank is planning to open representative offices in Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast, a spokesman said on Monday, adding the plans were still in an early stage.
Ethiopia, Africa's most populous country after Nigeria, is seen as a potentially big market for foreign banks, although the East African country still remains largely closed to overseas firms.
South Africa's other "big four" banks are also building up to the north. Third-placed Barclays Africa Group, formerly known as Absa, concluded its purchase of eight of Barclays' African operations last month.
Smaller rival Nedbank is expected to take up its right to acquire a 20 percent of pan-African Ecobank Group as early as November 2013. No.2 bank FirstRand has also been sniffing around west Africa and has had deals fall through in Nigeria and Ghana because of pricing. (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; editing by David Dolan)
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