• Who we are
    • Our group at a glance
    • Our Values and Code of Ethics
    • Corporate Governance
    • Our Leadership
    • Our Structure
    • It Can Be

    Standard Bank Group is a financial institution that offers banking and financial services to individuals, businesses, institutions and corporations in Africa and abroad.

    Find out about:

    • Our Strategy
    • Our financial results
    • Our global presence
    Contact us
    Contact Centre
    0860 109 075
    +27 11 636 9111
    All our products and services are based on a set of values that uphold the empowerment of our customers. Both internally, and in daily engagement with the our clients we foster transparency, innovation, accountability and superior service.
    Contact us
    Contact Centre
    0860 109 075
    +27 11 636 9111
    We ensure that all our services and products across borders are compliant with local legislation wherever we go. As we grow in Africa, we will continue to review our systems and processes according to the best possible compliance and risk management skills.
    Contact us
    Contact Centre
    0860 109 075
    +27 11 636 9111

    Our board of directors aims to promote the group’s long-term success. It delegates day-to-day management of the business and implementation of strategy to the Group Chief Executive, who is supported by the Group Leadership Council.

    Find out about:

    • Our Board of Directors
    • Our Group Leadership Council
    Contact us
    Contact Centre
    0860 109 075
    +27 11 636 9111

    We operate across the African continent through a number of subsidiaries, to provide solutions to all our clients.

    Find out about  our subsidiaries.

    Africa is our home. An exciting place, bursting with possibilities. In every corner, individuals and businesses are working relentlessly to achieve their dreams.

    We believe that dreams matter. They are the fuel that powers the future. To realise dreams, we take uncharted paths together. Paths that lead to growth. That’s why, every day, we are committed to finding new ways to make dreams possible.

  • What we do
    • Our Business

    We are a financial services group, offering services and solutions for 160 years, to Consumer & High Net Worth Clients, Business & Commercial Clients and Corporate and Investment Banking in and across Africa as well as key global locations.


  • Why we matter
    • Climate strategy
    • Our Sponsorships
    • Our Achievements
    • Reporting to society

    Our purpose is to drive Africa’s growth. We aim to do this in a sustainable and inclusive way. This means that we strive to have a positive impact through our business on important aspects of Africa’s development like education, infrastructure, financial inclusion and other UN Sustainable Development Goals.

    It also requires that we reduce the negative impacts of our business on the environment and society. Climate change is an important issue with implications for Africa’s growth. As the largest bank on the continent, we have the opportunity to play a leading role in supporting a just energy transition for Africa.

    Latest news
    Climate strategy
    Standard Bank unveils climate targets to support Africa’s sustainable development
    Group sets course for a net zero future and pledges to mobilise a cumulative amount of between R250 billion and R300 billion in sustainable finance by end of 2026.
    Our sponsorship initiatives promote community upliftment through the support of sporting, art and music events, teams, festivals and clinics. We strive to nurture growing talents and to aid local communities to grow in their chosen fields.
    We are proud to be a part of what’s happening in Africa. By fostering growth opportunities on the continent, we believe that hands across borders will continue to strengthen business in Africa.

    We drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Africa. To ensure our commitment to making a positive and lasting impact, we have developed a framework of initiatives and objectives towards long-term social, economic and environmental upliftment.

    • Our purpose
    • Social, Economic and Environmental framework
    • Our impact areas
    • Download reports
  • Whats happening
    • Voices of Resilience
    • Newsroom
    • Covid-19
    • Campaigns
    • HeforShe
    • Our Financials
    Get local and international financial report, analysis, commentary, banking news and all the stories you want to know.
    Latest news
    Peoples health and lives come first - Sim
    We're here for you as we face this pandemic
    Our teams are ready to serve our individual, business and corporate clients as usual. While doing everything we can to keep our staff and clients safe, and to flatten the curve, we have also taken all the necessary steps to ensure that our essential services will be able to function.
    Latest news
    Peoples health and lives come first - Sim
    We're here for you as we face this pandemic
    Our teams are ready to serve our individual, business and corporate clients as usual. While doing everything we can to keep our staff and clients safe, and to flatten the curve, we have also taken all the necessary steps to ensure that our essential services will be able to function.
    A view of all the campaigns within our group.
    Changing the present to reshape the future
    At Standard Bank our dream is that everyone's dreams can be. We can work together. We can find solutions. And we can prove that with the right help, It Can Be.

    Gender equity is a fundamental human right, and Standard Bank Group has committed to help create a gender-equal world.

Standard Bank Group
Sign in
Standard Bank Group
Who we are
Who we are
Our group at a glance
Our Values and Code of Ethics
Corporate Governance
Our Leadership
Our Structure
It Can Be
What we do
What we do
China - Africa 21 July 2022

Standard Bank aims to ignite East African business growth

Standard Bank believes that the right capital and capacity interventions will set East Africa on a sustainable path to prosperity, including the very real possibility of becoming middle-income economies within a generation.

In line with the Group’s purpose of driving Africa’s growth, the emergence, proliferation, and expansion of small and medium businesses in East Africa holds the key to the kind of broad-based economic inclusion on which long term prosperity, stability and security is built.

Standard Bank estimates that there are approximately 10 million small and medium enterprises and other commercial businesses spread across East Africa. These businesses contribute significantly to the economies in which they operate, driving GDP growth and providing significant employment opportunities.

While these businesses present a great opportunity for Standard Bank to add more business clients, an even greater opportunity is presented by partnering with – and growing – existing clients.

As such, Standard Bank’s Business and Commercial Clients (BCC) division is deliberately focused on building a capital and capability ecosystem supporting small traders, agribusinesses, emerging manufacturers, and entrepreneurs to grow into formal enterprises – or even become national corporates or cross-border multinationals.

Helping existing clients and their broader business ecosystems progress up the enterprise growth continuum requires that both Standard Bank and its clients do things differently. Carrying on with business as usual will not achieve the kind of multifactor growth necessary to put East Africa on a higher performing and more inclusive growth trajectory.

Connecting with clients differently

While building client-centric business models is necessary, Standard Bank has also learned that, in Africa, clients live amongst family and communities. As a result, business and private lives are not compartmentalised. Finding ways to show up differently – and much more relevantly – in clients’ broader lives as well as across their value chains is critical. As such, understanding client businesses deeply whilst also participating actively in local chambers of commerce and community forums, or getting involved in community development or school and university networks, is important.

By understanding the networks that businesses operate in, Standard Bank can leverage its best of breed solutions and platforms to build capacity amongst local client teams while also unlocking growth across their broader ecosystems.

Most East African economies, for instance, are net importers. As such, while facilitating cross-border trade Stand Bank is also able to identify opportunities for the development of local manufacturing. By supporting the growth of the right manufacturing businesses able to supply existing value chains, Standard Bank enables local economic growth while also diversifying the regional economy and enhancing job creation.  

By way of illustration, Standard Bank recently assisted a Kenyan manufacturer produce paper locally, replacing expensive international inputs with domestically sourced wastepaper and sugar cane by-products. As a result, many more local exporters now have branded boxes made to order at home, at a fraction of the cost of imported products. This has made local export business more competitive globally while also increasing jobs, expertise, diversification, and growth at home. Similarly, by understanding another client’s manufacturing process, Standard Banks’s Kenyan team assisted the client adapt ethanol (produced as a by-product of sugar refining) into sanitiser during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deploying digital to remove friction

BCC’s digital capability is providing not only a deeper understanding of clients, but also an ability to remove friction more effectively. Examples include:

  • Unayo, a platform-based payment service that any trader, entrepreneur, or business can use even if they don’t have a formal bank account. All they need is a phone.
  • In Kenya, Standard Bank developed a home-grown FMCG business support platform enabling distributors to order product, pay suppliers and track orders in real time.
  • In Zambia, Standard Bank’s launch of a platform solution linked to key suppliers, enables small traders to access stock loans daily. This means they never need to leave their store to place orders or travel to the bank to get loans or manage daily cash. Everything happens digitally.

Expanded view of growth finance

Growth finance is much more than just a loan. For some businesses, for example, finance is needed to buy stock. Others need to connect to reliable international suppliers of quality goods. Still others require a local manufacturing solution.  

Understanding how to apply growth finance differently relies on an intimate understanding of business needs and potential. While this dials up the significance of feet on the ground and intimate local relationships, technology is also transforming how Standard Bank can view, understand, and extend growth finance to a swathe of new and different East African businesses.

Using airtime sales data or GPS location, for example, Standard Bank can today see and track smaller businesses’ activities, transactions growth or stock movements. This digital intelligence provides a sufficiently reliable view on which to advance growth finance on terms that support differential re-payment structures aligned to individual businesses’ varying cash, stock, or sales positions.

Digitally informed payment structures have also significantly improved Standard Bank’s repayment profiles in East Africa. The ability to extend growth finance to small, emerging, and larger businesses that don’t report data in traditional formats has dramatically expanded the profile of businesses across East Africa that Standard Bank can support with growth finance and other solutions.  

Helping small business clients correctly track and gather financial information, secure loans, meet international bank-approved dealers or suppliers, negotiate forex quotas or letters of credit, complete cross-border paperwork, or finance vehicles – all under the guidance of seasoned business banking professionals - can catapult a survivalist operation onto a multifactor growth track.

The aim over the next decade is for Standard Bank to point to a stable of new transregional businesses operating across and out of East Africa that have been berthed as small local businesses and successfully supported up the enterprise development ladder by BCC’s relationship-driven insights, advanced digital value chain optimisation and expanded growth finance capabilities.  

The socioeconomic impact of these deliberate interventions designed to support East Africa’s small and medium businesses grow will set the region on a much higher – and significantly more inclusive - growth trajectory.


Andrew Robertson is Standard Bank’s Business and Commercial Clients Head for East Africa, responsible for client business growth in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.