Our round-up of Middle East financial news includes notes on the Saudi-isation of insurance selling in the Kingdom, Algeria's financial difficulties, Morocco's plans to float its local currency, Egyptian inflation, and the DIFC's efforts to attract Trust and Foundation business.
Egyptian and Moroccan Banks Among Biggest in Africa
The Banker magazine's ranking of the 100 largest African banks (published in its January 2017 edition) show that North African banks continue to rank among the biggest players on the continent.
Egyptian banks account for 15% of total Tier 1 capital of the largest 100 banks and 21% of assets, while Morocccan banks account for 13% of capital and 12% of assets. That makes them the third and fourth largest banking systems in Africa, after South Africa (31% and 35%) and Nigeria (16% and 11%).
There are 42 North African banks in The Banker's ranking of the largest African banks and together they have $30bn in Tier 1 capital, representing 34% of the total. They had $434bn in assets, representing 39% of the total. Figures generally refer to the end of 2015.
The largest bank in Africa is Standard Bank of South Africa with $7.5bn of Tier 1 capital. The fiftieth largest bank is Standard Bank Namibia with $137.
Many African countries do not feature in The Banker's ranking, including those with GDP and population that is significant in an Africa context: Democratic Republic of the Congo with a GDP of $35bn and a population of 77.4mn; Cote d'Ivoire ($32bn and 22.8mn); Cameroon ($32bn and 23mn) and Zambia ($bn and 14.6mn). The omission could be because recent financial statements were not available, but it is striking how small many sub-Saharan banks are. According to The Banker's ranking, only 23 have Tier 1 capital in excess of $1bn. Tier 1 capital of $1bn would probably put a place a bank around the 650th largest in the world under The Banker's Global ranking.
In North Africa, Moroccan banks are biggest: Attijariwafa has $3.2mn in capital and ranks fifth biggest in Africa (after four South African banks). It is immediately followed by Groupe Banques Populaire ($3.1bn and sixth place). National Bank of Egypt, with $2.4bn ranks tenth and Banque Misr with $2.1bn ranks eleventh.
Banque Extérieure d'Algérie is ranked 14th with $1.8bn in assets. Banque Nationale Agricole is the largest Tunisian bank, ranked 45th with Tier 1 capital of $445mn.
The attached table (below) shows the number of banks from each country that is featured in The Banker's top 100, the Tier 1 capital and assets of each country's banks, and then each country's GDP and Population.
Figures on banks are taken from The Banker. GDP and Population figures are taken from the World Bank.
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