Mengo NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- A
Kenyan living in Zambia, Mozambique, Ethiopia or the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) would be able to
easily transact banking business from their favorite
home-grown banks as the east African nation’s top
financial institutions go for the regional markets.
The customers would be able to make deposit or withdraw
cash, remit cash back home and access mobile banking
services affordably and just as easy as they do while at
home, thanks to an ongoing expansion drive by banks in
the east African nation.
Top Kenyan banks, namely Equity Group and Kenya
Commercial Bank (KCB) Group, after conquering the Kenyan
market, and extending to the larger East African
Community countries, are now following in the footsteps
of their South African and West African peers, which
have branches in various African countries.
KCB Group on May 7 announced that it is in buyout
talks with a bank in the DRC as it seeks to enter the
The bank had earlier declared that it is in talks
with authorities in Ethiopia to enter the market and it
is also eyeing Somalia.
KCB chief executive Joshua Oigara said, once
completed, the new branches would facilitate deals in
syndicated lending and trade finance.
"Ethiopia is a restricted market but there are
reforms going on.
"We are optimistic they will allow Kenyan banks,"
By eyeing DRC, KCB is following in the footsteps of
its rival Equity Group which already operates in the
market, having entered some two years ago by buying a
Similarly, Equity Group on May 1 announced plans to
enter the Mozambique and Zambian markets in a deal with
London Stock Exchange-listed banking group, Atlas Mara.
Equity Group chief executive said the buyouts would
help them build economies of scale and make it a Pan
The expansion puts Kenyan banks in direct competition
with South African lenders like Stanbic and Nigeria’s
Ecobank, all which are operating currently in east
Africa’s biggest economy and other nations in the
Kenya has aggressively sought to bolster ties with
Ethiopia ever since Premier Abiy Ahmed took over and
President Uhuru Kenyatta in March led a delegation
into the country seeking to enhance economic partnership
with Ethiopia, with a focus on trade and investment.
Besides banks, Kenya’s leading telecom Safaricom is
also eyeing the Ethiopian market.
The expansion drive would see the Kenyan banks
"significantly increase size, placing them in a position
to leverage on economies of scale in the rollout of
their digital platforms in the region," noted Cytonn, a
Nairobi-based investment firm on Monday.
Kenya’s trade with several African counties is on the
rise, one of the reasons analysts said, is making the
banks go continental.
Ernest Manuyo, a business management lecturer at
Pioneer Institute in Nairobi, noted that the expansion
drive is in line with Africa’s one-continent dream and
the soaring trade puts Kenya banks at a pole position to
settle financial deals across the region.
However, the Kenyan banks are not only eyeing the
continental market, KCB is also working on plans to open
a representative office in China as it seeks to reap
from the growing trade between the Asian nation and