first_img7 November 2013South Africa’s Standard Bank Group is to expand its presence in Africa with the opening of a representative office in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire.The office, which will open for business in February, will serve as a base for becoming familiar with Francophone West Africa and identifying opportunities for growth within the region.“Establishing a presence in the Cote d’Ivoire fits in with our Africa-focused strategy,” Standard Bank joint group chief executive Sim Tshabalala said in a statement on Monday.Initially, the main function of the office will be to source business for Standard Bank and to promote trade between various African countries and Cote d’Ivoire.Tshabalala said the new office would benefit the bank’s corporate clients who have already established, or are considering establishing, operations in Francophone Africa.Cote d’Ivoire is ideally placed as a hub for the region through its membership in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), which comprises Benin, Burkina Fasso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo.According to Standard Bank, the key drivers behind the country’s growth include its natural resources (oil and gas and minerals), public infrastructure investments, the ongoing commercialisation of agriculture, its consumer market potential, high levels of Chinese-led investment in the country, and the important role the country plays in the region.Herve Boyer, a French-speaking employee of Standard Bank, has been appointed managing director of the representative office. Boyer has specific experience in global markets and corporate and investment banking, and has a track record of dealing with clients in West Africa.“We believe that the Cote d’Ivoire would be the most suitable country from which to facilitate further business, gain better a better understanding of the region and better serve and meet our customers’ and clients’ needs,” said Boyer.Standard Bank, the largest African banking group by assets and earnings, now has operations in 19 African countries.SAinfo reporterlast_img