Standard Chartered launches its ‘first-ever digital bank in Africa’

Standard Chartered Bank has unveiled a digital operation in Côte d’Ivoire that it says represents its “first-ever digital bank in Africa”, and retained one of the country’s sporting legends,  footballer Didier Drogba, to be its “digital ambassador”.

Drogba, pictured left, and above, centre,  was among a number of dignitaries, business leaders, clients and senior management who attended a launch event in the West African, French-speaking country last week, and became “the first person in Côte d’Ivoire to open a digital account at the [new] bank”, using his mobile phone to do so, Standard Chartered said in a statement afterwards. He is best known for having played for the UK’s Chelsea football team, for whom he is said to have been one of its top scorers.

Headquartered in London and listed on the London Stock Exchange as well as a number of international exchanges, Standard Chartered operates mainly across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and currently has traditional retail banking operations in 10 African countries.  

Such traditional operations are increasingly being challenged on the African continent by digitally-accessed banking services, a fact StanChart’s regional chief executive of Africa and the Middle East,  Sunil Kaushal, alluded to in remarks last week, in which he called the digital operation “a key milestone on our digital journey as a bank, and [one that] underlines our commitment to investing and growing in the market”.

“We have been steadily investing in expanding our footprint in Africa over the years, and this will continue to be a priority moving forward,” he added.

“Digitising Africa remains at the heart of our business strategy for the region, and we look to implement our Côte d’Ivoire model across other markets in the coming months.”

Standard Chartered announced Drogba’s appointment as its “Digital Bank Ambassador” earlier this month, noting that he would be lending “his voice and image rights through a series of marketing and community engagement activities over the next 12 months as part of the campaign”.

Kaushal noted that Drogba, who he said was seen as an inspiration “not only due to his athletic excellence but also for his generosity and commitment to giving back to his fellow Ivorians, was an ideal partner for the Standard Chartered project in his home country.

For his part, Drogba said he was “honoured to be chosen to support [Standard Chartered Bank’s] efforts to enhance accessibility to banking services for the people of my country”, and that he also was “looking forward to spending more quality time in Côte d’Ivoire and getting involved in a cause that is of high importance to the local community.”

Those interested in accessing Standard Chartered’s digital services are instructed to do so by first downloading the bank’s mobile app, which, the bank says, permits clients to  execute all of their banking activities directly from their phones.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Burggraf
Helen Burggraf is Chief Correspondent for International Investment. She is a US-trained journalist who has worked in Rome, New York City and London, covering among other things the fashion and retailing industries, the global drinking water and water-treatment sector, private equity, and most recently, the international cross-border financial services/advice industry.

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