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Gazprombank becomes Russia's first commercial bank to open its office in South Africa

April 25, 2014, 3:39 UTC+3 PRETORIA
Bank eyes many rapidly developing African economies
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PRETORIA, April 25 /ITAR-TASS/. Gazprombank has become Russia's first commercial bank to open its representative office in the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

South African Deputy Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene, said in remarks at the presentation ceremony on Thursday that after two years of negotiations, Gazprombank had chosen the RSA as its base in Africa. He wished the Bank every success and thanked it for the shown trust in the South African economy.

Oleg Vaksman, Gazprombank's Deputy Chairma of the Management Board, told Itar-Tass that the Bank eyes many rapidly developing African economies. "We shall operate within the area of the Southern African Development Community and in the continent's east. We are interested in traditional sectors, such as oil and gas, energy, and infrastructure," he said.

The emergence in Africa of Russia's thrid-largest bank accords with its strategy for a direct access to developing markets. "Physical presence in a country is required for achieving that. Over here, we have strategic intentions. We do not intend just to earn money on some project and quit. We want to have an order book," Vaksman emphasized.

In Africa, it is possible to achieve a high profitability on credit-lending. However, political risks over here are higher than elsewhere. "One must take both these factors into consideration," Vaksman said. The representative office of Gaprombank expects to obtain a license in South Africa towards the end of the year.

Ndaba Ntslele, South African Co-Chairman of the RSA-Russia Business Council, welcomed the Russian bank's coming. "We have got sick and tired of endless memoranda of intent. It is time to move on to specific deals," he said.

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