WINDHOEK - Standard Bank is working on a number of banking products and facilities that it feels will help deepen trade ties between Chinese and Namibian businesses. This is according to Annelie Cloete, Standard Bank’s Corporate and Investment Banking Chinese Relationship Manager.
She said the bank’s relationship with Chinese businesses has come a long way since the inception of the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Namibia in 2016.
The Standard Bank Group is 20 percent owned by China’s biggest bank by assets, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Through this strategic partnership, the bank is increasingly exploring opportunities to expand cooperation into new areas of business.
“We want to use this bond to help our Chinese business community in Namibia not only to network, but also to transact and do business in a more seamless manner,” Cloete said.
“In retail banking, we are working together to introduce new solutions to facilitate personal remittances between Namibia and China. This will enable online person-to-person and business-to-business direct international payments and will be managed by dedicated specialist teams, improving convenience and reducing costs for our customers.”
Cloete said Standard Bank has already developed products for Namibian companies doing business with China, including hedging facilities in both USD and Chinese Yuan currencies, Customer Foreign Currency accounts for the appropriate currencies, electronic foreign exchange trading platform (e-Market), individual salary payments in Yuan or USD and letters of credit.
To further demonstrate the special relationship between Standard Bank and the Chinese community in Namibia, the bank donated N$50 000 towards the hosting of the Chinese New Year gala dinner, which was co-hosted by the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Namibia and the Chinese Embassy in Namibia on Sunday, January 20.
Over 700 Chinese and Namibian businesspersons keen on exploring new areas of trade attended the gala dinner to celebrate the start of the Chinese New Year known as the Year of the Pig. Chinese New Year is a Chinese festival that celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar. It will officially be celebrated on Tuesday, February 5.
Commenting on the donation, Cloete said Standard Bank has built mutually beneficial business relations with Chinese companies and clientele here in Namibia, so sponsoring an event of such a nature is a small token of the blue bank’s appreciation to the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Namibia.
China remains the single biggest investor in Namibia after independence. The world’s second largest economy’s need for natural resources to sustain its rapid growth is driving trade with Namibia.
The significant exchange of business between China and Namibia led to China overtaking South Africa as the largest export destination for Namibian products, making up 18.3 percent of total exports in the first quarter of 2018.
Namibia mainly exports ores, nonferrous metal, aquatic products, fur skins and leather products to China while importing textile products, furniture, machinery and electronic items.
The special relationship between Chinese businesses and Standard Bank was highlighted when the bank helped China General Nuclear Power Corp acquire the Husab Uranium Mine in Namibia for around US$2.5 billion, making it the second largest Chinese investment in Africa only second to the investment by ICBC in the Standard Bank Group 11 years ago.