• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Access Bank’s Kenya move bolster payment gateway dream

Access Holdings grows Full Year 2023 profit by 335%

Access Bank Plc has taken a significant step towards its goal of becoming Africa’s payment gateway with the acquisition of 100% of National Bank of Kenya (NBK) from KCB Group PLC.

This move comes just four years after Access Bank acquired a majority stake in Transnational Bank Kenya (now Access Bank Kenya Plc) and two years after buying out Centum’s stake in Sidian Bank. The latest acquisition, subject to regulatory approvals, strengthens Access Bank’s presence in the East African nation, a key trade corridor and financial hub.

Capitalizing on Pan-African payment system

The acquisition aligns with Access Bank’s broader ambition to position itself as the continent’s payments gateway. This ambition is further bolstered by Kenya’s selection as the headquarters of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS). PAPSS will facilitate direct, cross-border money transfers within Africa without the need for currency conversion.

By combining NBK with Access Bank Kenya post-acquisition, the Nigerian lender aims to create a strengthened Kenyan franchise, solidifying its position in the East African market.

Strategic play for a booming market

Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director/Chief Executive of Access Bank Plc, highlighted the strategic importance of the deal. He emphasized Kenya’s pivotal role in East Africa’s trade landscape, particularly with the recent implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

“Trade flows in East Africa revolve around key trade corridors, with Kenya being a central player,” Ogbonna said. “The AfCFTA will see these corridors expand further. By deploying our best-in-class financial solutions, we are strategically positioned to deliver sustainable value for our stakeholders.”

Building a Pan-African banking powerhouse

The NBK acquisition is the latest chapter in Access Bank’s aggressive expansion strategy across Africa. The bank currently operates in at least 16 African countries, having acquired Zambia’s Cavmont Bank in 2020, Mozambique’s African Banking Corporation in 2021, and Standard Chartered Bank’s subsidiaries in several African nations in 2023. In January 2024, Access Bank announced plans to acquire a majority stake in Uganda’s Finance Trust Bank.

With this latest move, Access Bank is well-positioned to leverage Kenya’s financial infrastructure and strategic location to become a dominant player in Africa’s burgeoning payments landscape.