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An Unabashed and Long-term Bet on Africa and African Businesses on the Global Stage Pays Off

Lagos-based Access Bank, one of Africa’s biggest banks, is close to finalizing a regulatory process to launch its first full banking service in Asia in the first quarter of 2024, the chief executive of its holding company. The Asian bank plan is part of a wider global expansion target which includes a strategy to expand more deeply into Francophone Africa, build closer ties with North Africa, and across Europe where it already has wholesale banking operations in London and Paris, which opened in May. Herbert Wigwe, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, and their team have built Access from a small Nigerian operator into the largest banking group in the country through an aggressive and ambitious acquisitive approach. The lender accounts for 16% of the banking system’s assets at the end of 2022, according to ratings agency Fitch. Access has used a wholesale banking model outside of Africa, which is a corporate-to-corporate approach rather than retail banking with individuals.