|Standard Bank of South Africa was one of the first African banks to actively pursue a pan-African growth strategy.|
In the years since the global financial crisis, Africa has witnessed a rapid expansion of cross-border banking, led by banking groups based in Africa that are spurring financial and economic integration and transforming the continent’s financial landscape. These institutions are occupying a space created by the retreat of several global bank groups from Africa in the wake of the crisis.
The expansion is evident across the region. African banks headquartered from Morocco to South Africa have each established business operations in at least 10 countries. Ecobank, headquartered in Togo—is present in more than 30 countries on the continent.
The banks have facilitated many positive changes—providing customers with new and better products and services, operating improved IT and management systems, and observing more advanced regulatory and accounting standards. But these groups also pose new challenges for African regulators and supervisors, with potential implications for economic and financial stability. Many of these challenges have been felt worldwide, particularly in Europe, necessitating a strengthening of banking regulation and a tightening of oversight.
It falls to African financial sector regulators and supervisors to rapidly address these new challenges. They are moving to upgrade supervisory procedures and practices by embarking upon unprecedented cooperation with peers across Africa—and with international supervisors, who are facing the same issues.