Angola analyzes requests to open 10 financial institutions

28 July 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 28 July – The Bank of Angola is analyzing 10 requests to open financial institutions in the country, amongst them the new bank of Macau businessman Stanley Ho, that of South Africa’s Standard Bank and Britain’s Barclays, Portuguese financial daily, Diário Económico reported.

According to the paper, a project of Portuguese bank Finibanco is amongst the proposals being assessed. The bank plans to open up 20 branches in Angola in three years as well as investment banking activities.

This bank, which has capital of US$10 million, will be 60-percent owned by Finibanco, 30 percent by local investors and also involves Portuguese businessman Jorge Armindo.

Another project being analyzed is that of Banco Privado do Atlântico, with capital of US$50 million, which is aimed at the corporate and investment sectors.

Mário Palhares, a former director of Banco Africano de Investimento, is linked to another proposal to create a financial institution involving Angolan financial investors.

Ho’s project was announced a few months ago and isfocused on serving the Chinese population, businesspeople and companies operating in Angola, called Banco Angolano de Negócios e Comércio (BANC).

According to Diário Económico the proposals being analyzed also include those of Standard Bank, the largest bank in South Africa, and Barclays, which is a shareholder of Banco Comercial Angolano, via South Africa’s ABSA, which it recently acquired.
The increased interest in the Angolan market is driven by projected strong growth of the country’s economy over the next few years, as well as investment potential.

Angola currently has low levels of banking, but which have been growing steadily, particularly over the last few years.

Bank deposits represent 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and loans represent 7 percent, but these indicators fell 50 percent and 60 percent respectively in 2005, according to Diário Económico.

The Angolan banking market is currently dominated by Banco Fomento de Angola (BFA), owned by Portuguese group BPI and Banco de Poupança e Crédito.

As well as Banco Fomento, which last year led the Angolan market for loans, Banco Espírito Santo and Totta also operate in the country.

Portugal’s largest private bank, Millennium BCP is currently beginning its process of expansion, as is BIC, which is part-owned by Portuguese businessman Américo Amorim. (macauhub)