Windhoek-Standard Bank Namibia says the Chinese business community in Namibia has contributed to the socio-economic development of the country, making them a worthwhile ally.
Cognisant of this fact, the Bank has worked closely with various Chinese captains of industry, and recently held a gala dinner in their honour, drawing them closer into the fold.
The dinner which was held towards the end of July, was attended by the Bank’s executives as well as the local Chinese business community, who were eager to hear about the Bank’s latest offerings.
In February 2015, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) acquired shares in Standard Bank’s London-based Global Markets business.
The marriage of ICBC and Standard Bank creates a platform to serve the growing demands of Chinese clients for global commodities, fixed income, currency and equities products while continuing as a distribution platform for African risk.
This union also allows the Chinese community to transact in renminbi, which has vast benefits such as realising significant savings when US dollar conversion costs and liquidity constraints are removed, promotes price transparency and reduces the cost of international trade, to name a few.
The renminbi cash exchange solution at the Bank’s Windhoek branch was officially launched on January 21, 2016. This service is also available in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
Following its inclusion in the International Monetary Fund’s Special Drawing Right basket of currencies, China’s renminbi currency has grown in dominance and become widely accepted for global trade.
Standard Bank’s Mary Liu, who is based in South Africa, gave a presentation on the new Africa China Banking Centre (ACBC) in Johannesburg, which is aimed at linking African and Chinese clients with China’s highly networked digital banking and customer knowledge systems.
“The ACBC is the first entity of its kind … It provides a virtual hub that connects Africa and China, online banking services, integrates personal and business banking needs and facilitates win-win partnerships,” Liu explained.
The centre is staffed by bankers with Chinese language and cultural capability, providing seamless consultation and advisory services via telephone, online or email. “We are unlocking China and moving Africa forward,” she said.
Trade between Namibia and China has been on the increase, with the latter being Namibia’s sixth largest export market, boasting growth in local exports to China with a value from N$939 million in 2011 to N$1.9 billion in 2014.
Standard Bank’s chief executive, Vetumbuavi Mungunda, thanked the Chinese community, saying there was a long standing relationship between them and the Bank which he wanted to continue and strengthen.
He added that he was proud that Standard Bank is at the centre of Chinese business, investments and projects because the Bank understands and responds to the needs and requirements of Chinese people. He concluded that he wants to continue this great symbiotic relationship, not only in Namibia, but across the continent as a whole for a long time to come.