Bramer Bank Provides Gateway to Investment in Africa
Friday, March 13, 2015
Mauritius is the easiest place to do business in Africa, offering a compelling banking environment for industry pioneers such as Bramer Bank.
As the world’s fastest-growing continent – with a predicted annual GDP growth of six percent over the next decade – Africa offers exciting opportunities within the banking sector and beyond. At the heart of its financial centre is Mauritius; ranked first in Africa and 23rd globally for ease of doing business by the World Bank. The country combines political stability and an ideal geographic location with good governance and favourable fiscal policy.
Among the major players emerging from the Mauritian banking sector is Bramer Bank, which, through its innovative micro-finance model, is paving the way for more deprived sections of Mauritian society to access services historically denied to them. Bramer Bank’s commitment to the highest standards of integrity, transparency, professionalism and ethical practice has seen the bank earn the World Finance Best Corporate Governance in Mauritius 2015 award. CEO Ashraf Esmael spoke to World Financeabout Bramer Bank’s determination to stand out from the crowd in a fiercely competitive marketplace, and its plans to expand into the wider African continent.
How is the Mauritian economy faring?
The Mauritian economy has weathered the global slowdown relatively well, in spite of its exposure to the eurozone, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of its exports and tourists. The economy has maintained annual growth rates of over three percent, although the momentum slowed a little with the onset of the crisis.
How saturated is its banking market?
Despite a growing number of banks (22 to date), the four largest continue to hold more than 50 percent of total assets. The sector is relatively large in relation to the size of the Mauritian economy. Total assets have increased from 272.1 per cent to 279.7 percent of GDP over the past five years. Despite a challenging operating environment, the banking sector remains broadly profitable, with pre-tax profit rising 14.4 percent to MUR 16.34bn ($523m) at the end of March 2014.
How can Bramer Bank provide a gateway to investment in Africa?
Bramer Bank has ambitious plans for growth and development in Africa – a region to which it has already gained considerable exposure over the past few years. By capitalising on a strong network of correspondent banks around the world, and making use of British American Investment Group’s global footprint, it will expand its offshore activities across and beyond the continent, using Mauritius as a regional business and financial services hub.