Africa-based banks, once largely domestic, are expanding across the continent and now dominate the banking sector in many countries. These so-called pan-African banks are establishing cross-border networks and overtaking the European and US banks, which traditionally dominated banking on the continent.
The new pan-African players are driving the expansion of financial services and economic integration in Africa, helping unlock the huge potential of a fast-growing region.
Pan-African banks originate mainly in the largest economies of Africa, such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Morocco, and from countries of influence within a region, such as Kenya. But one of the major pan-African institutions, Ecobank, is headquartered in tiny Togo. Ecobank emerged in the mid-1980s in the context of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, and although not the largest of the pan-African banks in terms of assets, it surpasses them all in geographic reach.