The Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB) is affirming its growing African ambitions through its participation as one of the four Diamond Sponsors of the forthcoming Africa CEO Forum. This event, one of major rendezvous of the financial and corporate African scene, will welcome some 800 participants from 38 countries in Geneva on the 16th and 17th of March 2015 with discussions to be held in relation to the strategic priorities of the African private sector.
“The Africa CEO Forum will help boost MCB’s brand visibility and its regional ambitions,” said Antony Withers, MCB’s Chief Executive. “We will be able to showcase our internal capabilities and product offerings to the top African business leaders and the most influential players in African and international finance. It will also allow MCB to engage in constructive dialogue on Africa’s growth dynamics and how the private sector can contribute towards advancing sustainable economic progress across the continent.”
Ranked by The Banker as the largest bank in East Africa, MCB has gradually increased its involvement in Africa. The ‘Bank of Banks’ initiative aims at positioning MCB as a regional hub in handling trade finance, cards operations outsourcing and consulting services on behalf of MCB’s financial and banking counterparts. As such, MCB bundles its industry capabilities to service some 100 financial institutions covering around 30 African countries. The Bank is also active through classic short-term finance with more than 50 African banks and participates on the syndicated loan market through deals in African countries, as much as in the secondary market for the purchase and sale of risks, backed by its signing of 18 Master Risk Participation Agreements with top-tier African banks.
MCB has made major strides in terms of structured finance across the commodity trade value chain, with activities revolving around the provision of bespoke self-liquidating finance facilities to regional oil traders and importers, as well as to some of the world’s top commodity traders. MCB has grown into a privileged partner for asset-based structured project finance in sectors spanning energy and power generation, infrastructure, telecommunications and hospitality across sub-Saharan Africa and the region. These endeavours are underpinned by the Group’s presence across 10 countries through its subsidiaries, associated company and representative offices. Reflective of its growing African aspirations, foreign-sourced income accounts for nearly half of the Group’s net profit, principally stemming from the region and the African continent.
“We have not waited for Africa to be in the spotlight as ‘the new place to be’ to spread our wings across the continent,” said Raoul Gufflet, Head of MCB’s International division. “Today, our ambition to widen and deepen our footprint in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond can be explained by the generally appreciable macroeconomic performance and prospects posted by a number of African countries. We are focused on securing new business across the continent and engaging in organic growth by increasing cross-border financing and entering into regional ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances,” added Raoul Gufflet.
Being the country’s leading bank accounting for a quarter of the market capitalisation on the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, MCB will, in Geneva, be the flagship of the Mauritian business and financial hub. “Mauritius has made appreciable headway in refocusing on the African continent as part of its market and geographical diversification strategy in light of the new ‘Africa rising’ narrative,” Antony Withers noted. The country is strategically positioned between Africa and Asia and benefits from a wide network of bilateral agreements, with 19 Double Taxation Avoidance Treaties and 20 Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements currently in force with African countries. It is well integrated in major regional economic and trading blocs, such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC).