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Standard Chartered shuts operations in 5 African countries, reviews stands in 2. Here’s why

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Standard Chartered Bank said it has decided to end its operations in seven countries in the Middle East and Africa. According to the Group, the decision is “as set out in its full-year 2021 results presentation to accelerate its strategy, deliver efficiencies, reduce complexity and drive scale.”

The decision was made public in a statement africanewswatch.com retrieved on the company’s website.

“Today the Group announces a set of actions to redirect resources within its Africa and the Middle East (“AME”) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, in order to better support its clients.” The statement reads.

The decision is however subject to regulatory approval as the Group now intends to exit onshore operations in seven markets in AME. “The seven markets where there will be a full exit of operations are Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.”

Standard Chartered also reviewed its position in two other African countries. “In Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, the Consumer, Private and Business Banking businesses will be exited and the focus will turn solely to CCIB.”

The exit decision is a course for worry, particularly for African countries, many of which largely depends on foreign investment to drive their economy. Exit or lack of foreign investment are developments that threaten fragile economies like Africa.   Slamreportsafrica.com reported on Thursday that Ride-hailing company, Uber, has suspended its services in Tanzania as a result of regulations that are not business-friendly which has made its operation in the East African country.

Also recall that Nigeria’s official data source, for one of Africa’s biggest economies earlier this month, released data (Pdf), which indicated that 24 out of 36 states of the Nigerian Federation got no Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the year 2021.

As Standard Chartered Group CEO, Bill Winters, said, the group as with other profitably structured companies “focuses on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying business”, African countries most beyond their leaders holidaying across the world in the guise of looking for foreign investors, rather position their economies for growth opportunities for potential investors.

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Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants tailored to job needs from European countries.

President Bazoum made the position in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. on Friday.

The president’s argument is that the quota will address European countries’ needs for its labour market and could help resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“In France, Spain, and Italy you have many jobs in sectors of employment where Africans can work,” Bazoum said.

“These numbers need to be established, country by country, and then the consulates entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.”

Surveys of African migrants in or heading toward Europe reveal that the majority were either employed or in school at the time of their departure. Yet, they felt despair over their economic prospects.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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