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November 2019 African Business 9 November 2019 African Business 9

A recent spate of acquisitions indicates that Equity Bank is intent on becoming a pan-African financial giant from Kenya’s banking sector this year. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), the country’s biggest lender by assets, completed a takeover of the struggling National Bank of Kenya in early September – adding $1bn in assets to its balance sheet. KCB has operations in six African countries and will target four more by next year including Somalia, Mozambique and DRC.

Following the acquisitions, Kenya’s two largest banks now have an asset base worth $15bn. Though this pales in comparison to Egyptian, Moroccan, Nigerian and South African banks – Johannesburgbased Standard Bank is Africa’s largest bank with assets worth $147bn for example – the flurry of activity in the banking sector is creating the foundation for large banks in the country.

A merger between NIC Bank and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) joined the list in late September by creating Kenya’s third biggest bank, the NCBA group. At this bigger size, NCBA is expected to compete with its larger contemporaries, relegat-

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