A Cash Management Authority in Africa
by Maurice Cleaves, Managing Director, Global Head of Cash Management, Barclays
This month, Barclays is launching a highly innovative publication, ‘Africa – New Region, New Partner, New Growth’ in association with TMI. The Guide provides expert economist commentary and practical case studies from a range of diverse corporations operating across Africa.
Ten years ago, establishing a corporate treasury hub in Africa would have been a relatively unusual move for a multinational corporation. More recently, however, Africa has become a more attractive place to do business. The GDP growth of many African countries has accelerated and there has been significant improvement in microeconomic stability and economic policies.
As growth in the region continues, corporate treasuries are looking to centralise their cash and treasury management activities, and are therefore seeking a cohesive local and regional cash management service. Given the constraints across the continent, companies making the move into Africa for the first time often look to locate themselves where the best infrastructure and skills are located. Shared Service Centres (SSCs) are growing in popularity, and regional treasury hubs are being established not only in ‘business-friendly’ South Africa, but in locations throughout the East and West of the continent also.
The diversity in the regulatory, geographic and cultural environment across Africa means that a bespoke approach to cash and treasury management is essential, combining solutions that are highly specific to each market with in-depth industry knowledge. Barclays is present in twelve countries across Africa with a proud history in the continent. For example, we have been in Egypt since 1864 and in Kenya since 1916. We are one of the top three banks in nine of our markets. In locations where we do not have a direct presence, we work with best-in-class local banks to ensure that our clients can open accounts, access branch networks, and are able to make cross-border payments. We also work with these banks to give our clients cross-border visibility of cash and access to local expertise and support.
Across Africa, we work closely with different ‘grass root’ groups, governments, regulators, and business organisations to understand and provide solutions to support the different regulatory and cultural requirements in each market.
At every level, clients have banking partners on the ground who understand the local environment, ensuring all issues are managed as (or ideally before) they arise.
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