Standard Chartered Bank is driving a deliberate policy to take advantage of the growing trade corridors both in both intra-Africa and between Africa and Asia, which now runs into hundreds and billions of US dollars, Duncan Woods, the bank’s cluster head for consumer banking, Southern Africa, said this week.
Addressing a dinner hosted for the local Chinese business community in Harare this week, Duncan said trade between China and Africa reached US$160 billion in 2011, up 28% from last year.
He said Sino-Africa trade, which had risen ten-fold in less than a decade, was anticipated to grow and strengthen, regardless of the toughening conditions in many parts of the world.
Duncan said Africa presented a significant opportunity across multiple sectors and industries. Its growth had been aided by its favourable demographics, improved macro-economic stability and growing trade and investment flows with Asia and the Middle East, in which his bank had a major presence.
Duncan said over the past 10 years, bilateral trade between China and Zimbabwe had grown at an average pace of 33,6% per year, doubling to US$800 million in the last two years as ties between the two countries continue to strengthen. It is projected to hit US$1 billion this year.
Stanchart had taken 200 small to medium enterprises customers to China for networking, of which 40 were from Zimbabwe.