By Chris Mfula
Nigeria's United Bank of Africa (UBA) UBA.JG has started operating in Zambia with a capital investment of $15 million as it seeks to expand its influence on the African continent, Chief Executive Officer Abba Bello said on Thursday.
Bello told Reuters one UBA branch was already operational in Lusaka and the bank planned to open two more in the country's mining towns on the Copperbelt and another in Solwezi, which hosts two key mines in Africa's largest copper producer.
"Our focus is on wholesale and retail and we play in all sectors of any economy that we are in, so when you say mining, yes we will be in mining but we will be in all sectors of wholesale space in Zambia and we will support that with retail play," Bello said.
Bello said UBA hoped its growing influence in Africa would help boost trade and spur the continent's economic growth.
"UBA is here as a vehicle to ensure that Africans have their own bank that can assist in empowering indigenous Africans in growing intra-African trade and trade between Africa and the rest of the world," he said.
Bello said with the start of operations in Zambia, UBA was now present in 17 countries in Africa.
In October, UBA launched its Kenyan operation to compete with pan-African group Ecobank Transnational Inc ETIT.LG, which began working in Kenya in 2008.
Bello said the competition, brought about by the opening of more banks in Zambia, which now has 18 banks, and favourable economic indicators in recent months would help bring down interest rates. – Reuters