Standard Chartered Plc will look beyond Angola’s oil and gas industry to pursue growth and remains committed to the southwest African nation even as a plunge in crude prices batters the economy, according to the U.K. lender’s local partner.
The bank was “focused on the oil sector but with changes we’re seeing today in the market an adaptation” is required, Manuel Joaquim Gonçalves, chief executive officer of state-owned insurer Ensa Seguros, said in an interview in the capital, Luanda. “The bank continues to carry out normal banking operations.”
Ensa Seguros owns about a 40 percent stake in StanChart’s business in Angola. Both companies are committed to the partnership and will continue operations despite added “difficulties,” Goncalves said. They have “a will to build a bank as strong as possible in Angola,” he said.
Angola, Africa’s biggest crude producer, has struggled after the oil price fell to the lowest level in more than a decade. The Finance Ministry cut its economic growth forecast to 1.1 percent earlier this month from 3.1 percent while S&P’s Global Ratings revised its outlook for the country to negative from stable. President Jose Eduardo dos Santos dismissed Armando Manuel as finance minister on Monday, without giving a reason.
StanChart has operations in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, according to its website. The bank ended its U.S. dollar services in Angola after Bank of America Corp. was said to have halted supplies of dollar bills into the oil producer.
Standard Chartered opened a representative office in Angola in 2010 and started operating as Standard Chartered Bank Angola in partnership with ENSA in 2014, making it the only large British lender on the ground.