Since its inception, AfrAsia has been embarking on an audacious strategy in order to tap into the growing trade, investment and capital flows between Africa and Asia, says its Senior Executive – Head Corporate & Personal Banking, Africa.
1. AfrAsia has recently been awarded ‘Best Corporate Bank’ by Banker Africa. How do you define this success?
This award is a testimony to our unremitting efforts in delivering a superior service to the one core element that drives the bank - our customers. AfrAsia’s success is defined by the extent to which our existing clients continue to bank with us and our ability to attract new customers by providing a truly differentiated banking experience. That experience is one that is truly client centric: engaging with them with an ‘entrepreneurial’ mindset to understand their needs, objectives and aspirations.
This ultimately shows that the AfrAsia brand continues to deliver and attract valued customers in both domestic and international markets. We remain committed to offering a more distinctive value proposition, creating more synergies across our core business lines, by drawing on our expertise, strong relationships and customer-centric approach. This award, that we’ve bagged for the second consecutive year, confirms our successful business model as we continue to be the chosen business partner for growth.
2. What are the trends you are seeing in Mauritius and the region in the corporate lending space?
In Mauritius, we see refined investment taking place in infrastructure and property particularly the Smart City initiatives driven by both the government and private sector. The Smart Cities being developed across the island is aimed at boosting development and investments in the country, consolidating hence the Mauritian International Business and Financial Hub.
Internationally, we see continued investment into Africa and a good amount of activity in the private equity space across various sectors. Mauritius is often the platform used to facilitate these investments, so we are seeing numerous activities in this space. On the other hand, the commodity cycle seems to be turning and investment in mining and gas explorations is picking up particularly in countries like Mozambique. India continues to have a large amount of activity and remains one of the highest growth countries in the world with important stabilisation coming to some sectors such as steel.
3. The strategy of the bank is in its name? How successful this strategy has been so far?
Since inception, AfrAsia has taken the lead to truly establish a diverse and long-term service in line with pursuing an ‘audacious’ strategy to tap into the growing trade, investment and capital flows between Africa and Asia, leveraging on the many advantages of the Mauritius IFC. Today, with clients in more than 120 countries, we strongly believe that we’ve been able to bring our own unique perspectives and commitments to the market. With our core brand essence, “bank different”, we have always worked towards ensuring that our strategy is aligned to be a ‘different’ bank in the industry, that is, a challenger organisation.
We always make sure that our customers have had an enriched and seamless experience with the bank, one which is niche and customised to their needs, and to a large extent personalised and built on trust. AfrAsia continues to deliver fantastic results and has one of the highest growth rates in the industry.
4. Where do you see the opportunities for Mauritius?
Having long been the tried and trusted investment route, Mauritius is considered as one of the most stable countries in Africa, boasting a very good business environment and well poised to be the financial gateway to the African continent. And a large part of this success is the relatively speaking successful interplay between the government and private sector businesses.
There must be a continuous focus on developing this relationship further and be a model for countries in Africa as to how collaborative efforts between the public and private sector can generate thriving results, long-term growth and sustainability. Mauritius must find new ways to attract FDI and deliver a viable platform for investment into emerging markets. Part of the answer to this lies in developing niche offerings to international markets relevant to the region, for example, can Mauritius develop a viable stock exchange to the Africa mining industry?