Barclays has announced it is to withdraw from Africa. It will gradually reduce its 62% stake in Barclays Africa Group over the next two to three years – and, naturally, this raises questions about the prospects for banking in Africa, where Barclays has had a presence since 1925.
But the decision is more a signal of the bank’s weak finances than a gloomy outlook for African banking. Barclays made the announcement alongside its annual results, which reported a 2% profit drop and a dividend cut of more than 50% per share. It also needs to raise funds to meet capital adequacy requirements. The underlying fundamentals of African banking, meanwhile, are sound.