By G9ija

The decision of Access Bank to establish a subsidiary in Paris, France has been receiving high reviews in the financial press given the strategic move by one of Africa’s leading banks into the colonial capital of Francophone Africa.

The subsidiary according to the bank was established to connect the former colonial power with Africa.

The decision of Access Bank to connect France with Africa flows from the increasing spread of the bank across the continent.

Indeed, the Paris enterprise comes after the bank, three years ago disclosed to stakeholders in Nigeria, its determination to be Africa’s gateway to the world. That was after it won the approval of the capital market regulatory authorities in Nigeria to acquire a Kenyan bank, Transnational Bank, TNB.

Though an English-speaking country, the move into Kenya did not obviate the incursions that Access Bank had over the period had been making into the continent across anglophone and francophone countries in West, East, Southern and Central Africa.

From its sprawling headquarters in the Victoria Island area of Lagos, Nigeria, Access Bank has spread its flanks with franchises in Congo DRC, Rwanda, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Burundi, and Zambia among others.

While Access Bank had before now maintained European operations out of London, the establishment of the Paris, France subsidiary is expected to complement the increasing Africanisation of the bank.

It is expected that the establishment of the Paris subsidiary would help dilute language and cultural issues between Anglophone and Francophone Africa within the bank towards seamless operations that will strengthen the bank’s continued stride towards continental dominance.

These permutations also add to the bank’s assertion that the establishment of the Paris subsidiary would help the bank navigate lines drawn by the decision of Britain to pull out of the European Union following the Brexit vote.

As the Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings PLC, Herbert Wigwe said at the formal launch penultimate week:

“Access Bank PLC, today, has a very strong presence in the United Kingdom, but coming on the heels of Brexit, there was a need for us to establish a presence in another country in Europe and France provides a very strong platform for us to do so. Beyond that, Access Bank has a great presence in the Francophone world that relies significantly – in terms of trade – on France, so, Access Bank in Paris will work to support trade possibilities and trade finance solutions to businesses in those regions, ranging from large conglomerates to SMEs and more.

“Our range of banking products and services will be a valuable asset for businesses looking to trade internationally, while our corporate and investment banking services will help businesses access capital, manage their cash flow, and mitigate risk. Furthermore, we are confident that the bank’s trade finance solutions will help businesses to navigate the complexities of cross-border trade, and at the same time, our digital capabilities will make banking more convenient and efficient for all our customers,” he reiterated.

Access Bank’s presence in France represents an important step towards achieving its goal of bridging worlds and connecting opportunities for African businesses. The Bank’s latest stride also lays a marker for realising its recently unveiled 5-year strategic growth plan.

“Over the years, we have demonstrated a strong commitment to deepening the Bank’s presence across Africa and beyond,” remarked Roosevelt Ogbonna, Managing Director, Access Bank PLC, at the launch. “Today, we are proud to have a presence in over a dozen countries across four continents, serving millions of customers and businesses. Indeed, our expansion drive has been guided by our vision to become the world’s most respected African bank, and by building on our strong track record of innovation, customer service, and social responsibility, we have come one step closer to achieving this goal.

“We remain committed to building a bank that is truly global in scope, yet locally relevant in its approach, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we continue to grow and expand our footprint in new markets,” Ogbonna concluded.

Access Bank UK, led by Jamie Simmonds, will oversee the operations of the Paris subsidiary and will effectively become the umbrella company for ot