As business activity picks up after the summer, we offer a summary of some of the stories we're following at the Arab Bankers Association.
Strong Showing by North Africa in The Banker's African Bank Rankings
The Banker's ranking is based on available financial statements so it is perhaps not surprising that no Libyan banks appear in the list (even though Libya's banking system, before the overthrow of Colonel Qaddafi, was comparable in size to that of Tunisia). But the big Egyptian and Moroccan banks feature strongly: Morocco's Groupe Banque Populaires and Allijariwafa Bank are the fifth and sixth biggest banks in Africa, based on Tier 1 equity, according to the ranking. Banque Exterieure d'Algerie (BEA) is the ninth biggest and National Bank of Egypt eleventh.
All of the other five Algerian banks that feature in the Top 100 are relatively small private sector banks. Other than BEA none of the big state-owned banks find a place, although it is not clear whether this is due to their size of to a lack of data.
Egypt contributes 16 banks to the Top 100 (second only to Nigeria, with 17), Morocco 8 and Tunisia 7.
After Nigeria, the biggest contributors from sub-Saharan Africa are Kenya (11 banks) South Africa and Angola (eight each) and, somewhat implausibly, Mauritius (seven).
The striking feature of The Banker's rankings is the small size of African banks. Only 22 had tier 1 equity of more than $1 billion. In contrast, at the end of 2013, 45 GCC commercial banks had more than $1 billion in shareholders equity -- 45th bank was National Bank of Umm al-Qaiwain.
Two tables are attached. Tab 1 lists the biggest 10 African banks and then all the North African banks that appear in the top 100. Tab 2 gives a breakdown of how many banks from each country appear in the Top 100. Tab 2 also gives a ranking of the biggest 20 African economies (by GDP in 2013 or most recently available year).
The Banker's rankings are based on end-2013 financial statements, with a few exceptions that are either earlier or later. The Rankings appear on page 60 of the January 2015 edition.
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