Société Générale , the French multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in Paris, France, is sustaining its robust growth in Africa. 

The bank operates in 19 African countries, has 11,500 workers on the continent to support local economies and serves 4.1 million customers, including 150,000 businesses.

The bank is present in Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia

Last year, its Africa, Mediterranean Basin and Overseas Region Business Unit generated €1.52 billion in revenue, an increase of 11%, a trend that continued in the first nine months of 2018, as the bank continued to roll out its strategy, building on its strengths to capture local growth.

Now, the Group is targeting a compound annual revenue growth rate of 8% and profitability of over 15% by 2020 for its African operations.

At the moment, business customers account for more than 60% of NBI and outstanding loans. The bank says it is supporting this increasingly sophisticated client base, in particular via regional hubs of expertise that have proven their capability in more mature markets, such as structured finance or currency hedging solutions.

Societe Generale has also decided to increase its outstanding loans to African SMEs by 60% over the next five years (+€4 billion).

“Our long-standing presence in Africa makes Societe Generale an essential, well-placed player on the continent to serve as a unifying force around the challenge of responsibility and sustainably contributing to African growth,”
said Frédéric Oudéa, Chief Executive Officer of Societe Generale.

“This ambition is a key part of our strategic plan. This is why we are launching “Grow with Africa”, an initiative that involves all stakeholders seeking to provide solutions to the specific environment in which sustainable development in Africa is expanding, and who are convinced that the futures of Europe and Africa are more closely linked than ever.”

In terms of individual customers, Societe Generale is looking to consolidate its leadership positions in several countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal, Guinea, etc.), specifically by drawing on the benefits of its high-end positioning, while remaining focused on improving customer satisfaction.

The solid growth of the bank’s African operations is in line with its “Transform to Grow” strategic plan and part of its “Grow with Africa” program, the group declared in Dakar, Senegal, this week. 

Announcing several new initiatives, the bank said it would forging ahead with its innovation strategy with the roll-out of YUP, an e-wallet solution launched in August 2017 which currently has over 300,000 e-wallets opened and almost 4,500 agents.

YUP adds around 1,500 new customers per day and is aiming for one million customers and 8,000 agents by 2020. In order to deliver on this roadmap, Societe Generale is adapting its structure in Africa.

Four regional divisions for Africa have been set up in Abidjan, Douala, Algiers and Casablanca, in addition to an organization and IT system division in Casablanca. The Group hope this will enable the pooling of expertise, standardize processes and improve efficiency.

The bank is also looking to broaden its innovation initiatives, thanks to Innovation Labs in Dakar, Tunis and Casablanca, where new banking and non-banking solutions are being developed with start-ups and customers.

In addition, the Group is strengthening its teams in Africa. With a strong renewal in the managerial structure, many African staff members well connected to local economies are being promoted to top management positions. Several initiatives on training, equality – such as the partnership with “Women in Africa” – and collective intelligence are also playing a key role in the Group’s inclusive growth strategy.

Simon Ateba

Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.

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