Since its launch in 2004, DIFC’s clientele has grown to include 21 of the world’s top 25 banks and connects the Middle East and African markets with the economies of Europe, Asia and the Americas. Deutsche Bank’s move is the next stage of that process with the new hub approved by the lender’s board, with Ashok Aram, CEO for the MEA region at the bank, set to take responsibility for the Africa business.
The German bank will follow in the footsteps of other institutions
Speaking to World Finance, Aram said: “We see this as a fantastic opportunity for our South African business to grow as the economic relationships between the Sub-Saharan Africa region and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are constantly growing due to their geographic proximity, expanding logistical linkages and existing social networks. This is leading to expanding trade and investments including in partnership with Asian clients.”
The German bank will follow in the footsteps of other institutions that have focused their investment on African countries and expanded their footprint in the continent. Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are among the international investment banks that take advantage of higher growth rates, when compared to many developed economies, and the demand for infrastructure spending.
While the expansion to Dubai will put Deutsche Bank closer to Africa’s fastest-growing economies, many banks have recently moved their business away from Dubai to Johannesburg – a move which Deutsche Bank may look to follow in the years to come. Rivals such as Citibank, FirstRand and Standard Bank have focused much of their attention on the sub-Saharan African region with minimal focus on the Middle East. In the past four years, both Standard Chartered and Barclays have moved their headquarters from Dubai to Johannesburg, with banks typically expanding to other African countries upon establishing a presence in the continent.