Absa Group Limited, Barclays Bank of Botswana’s parent company, this week reported an increase in earnings and income for the first half of 2018 and underscored its commitment to growth in Africa. Absa Group, previously known as Barclays Africa Group, said headline earnings rose 3% to R8 billion (about US$608 million) in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2017. Income increased by 3% to R37 billion (about US$2.8 billion).
Absa Group Chief Executive Officer, Maria Ramos, reiterated the group’s ambition to double its share of banking revenues in Africa to 12% and said Absa is making progress on its innovation journey and in becoming a digitally-led bank. In Kenya, Absa’s local subsidiary (Barclays Bank Kenya) launched Timiza – an app-based personal loans platform – in March this year.
Timiza’s customer base has grown to more than two million by 25 July. Absa launched ChatBanking on WhatsApp banking and Samsung Pay as new propositions for its South Africa retail business this year. Uptake particularly in WhatsApp banking has exceeded expectation with more than 10 000 customers registering for ChatBanking on WhatsApp within the first 20 days of launching in July.
“We are excited to be part of a financial services group that Africa can be proud of. We continue to engage all stakeholders in our journey to ultimately officially change our brand and name,” said Reinette van der Merwe.
“Barclays Bank of Botswana has led the market by launching the first bank to wallet service. The platform allows our customers to send money directly from their bank accounts to Orange Money and Mascom MyZaka. The recently refreshed Barclays App provides better user experience when performing transactions or viewing account balances.”
She added, “To further bolster our commitment to driving growth in Botswana we have recently re-launched the F.G. Mogae Scholarship program with a 3 Million Pula investment. We believe that when we educate our youth, we unleash the possibilities of a nation.”
Reporting on its separation from the international Barclays PLC group, Absa said the programme is on track and within budget. As part of the separation, the group will rename its Barclays subsidiaries before mid-2020, as agreed with the international Barclays PLC group, subject to regulatory approvals. Barclays continues to be an important stakeholder as it continues to own 14.9% of Absa Group.