The UK banking firm Standard Chartered is planning to exit Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.
The bank which operates in over 70 countries, will also leave its consumer, private and small business banking operations in Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire, but will rather focus on dealing with corporate, commercial, and institutional clients.
Standard Chartered will refocus its Africa and the Middle East franchise on what it sees as high-growth markets, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The bank’s operating profit for 2021 in Africa and the Middle East was USD 856 million, the highest they have seen since 2015.
“We remain excited by a number of opportunities we see in Africa and the Middle East region, as illustrated by our new markets, but remain disciplined in our assessment of where we can deliver significantly improved shareholder returns,” said Standard Chartered Group CEO Bill Winters.
This is not the first time British banks are leaving Africa. Atlas Mara Ltd, listed on the London Stock Exchange, purchased banks in seven African countries in recent years. After what it called ‘challenging’ market conditions, Atlas Mara is currently in the process of exiting those investments. In 2016 also, Barclays left Africa, selling off a 62.3% stake in Barclays Africa Group.