African banks plan to open in Guinea Bissau

13 February 2006

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 13 Feb – The ECOWAS bank (Bank of the Economic Community of West African States) and ECOBANK, which is present in 13 African countries, plan to begin operating in Guinea Bissau, Guinea’s Finance Minister said in Bissau Saturday.

Minister Vitor Mandinga, quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa, was speaking at the opening ceremony of Banco da União (BDU), an entirely African-owned bank

BDU is owned by the Pension Fund of Recruitment Agents of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), Mali Development Bank (BDM) and the West African Society for Asset Management.

The new bank is also part of Guinea Bissau’s Foundation for Development (Fundei).

Guinean prime minister, Aristides Gomes said that “the setting up of BDU in Guinea Bissau, which already exists in the other seven countries of West African Economic and Monetary Union, shows confidence in Guinean institutions as well as in the local economy.”

The bank has been open in Bissau since January and plans to open branches in Bafatá, Gabu (east) and Canchungo (North), and later offer bank transfer service via credit card, which does not as yet exist in Guinea Bissau.

With the launch of BDU, Guinea Bissau now has three commercial banks, the other two being Banco dos Estados da África Ocidental (BAO) majority-owned by Portugal’s Montepio Geral, and Banco Regional de Solidariedade (BRS).(macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH