Africa banking has been built largely on the framework of the European banks that established in the colonies in the 19th century. As a result, the largest banks are found mostly in the former British colonies of South Africa and Nigeria accounting for almost one half of the largest 25, and of France, in Algeria and Morocco, accounting for the next quarter.

African banks are small in world terms having less than 1% of total world bank capital compared to almost one half for Asia, a quarter for Europe and one fifth for North America. However, African banks perform better than almost all other regions in terms of profits. They make double the amount expected relative to size, contributing 2% of global profits and deliver a 20% return on capital – the third highest level in the world.

Of the five largest banks in Africa, four are the major South African players – Standard Bank Group, FirstRand, ABSA Group and Nedbank Group, with only one other bank, Egypt’s National Bank, coming in at #2. Most of the other major banks come from Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria. In comparison however, the largest bank, Standard Bank, only manages to place 152nd in the Top 1000 World Banks.

Counting by country, in the top 80 African banks by assets, are the following:

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South Africa-7

To understand which are the biggest banks in Africa from the table above, it is clear that although South Africa only has 7 out of the 80 largest, it accounts for nearly 40% of total assets, and with nearly half a trillion dollars in assets has double the total for the same number of Egyptian banks, four times the total of Nigeria, which has double its number of banks in the top 80, and nearly ten times the assets of the total in Kenya.

A complete list of African banks with assets in excess of $400 million follows:

List of largest African Banks in the world

In conclusion, African banks can be roughly split into two systems – sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa. The Top 80 listing is dominated by the sub-Saharan ‘big four’ South African financial giants: Standard Bank, ABSA, Nedbank and FirstRand Group. The new generation of Nigerian banks, led by Access Bank and First Bank, are emerging as dynamic players in regional markets. In North Africa, the Algerian, Egyptian and Moroccan banks are emerging from a period of difficult conditions but are expected to catch up with the better-than-average performance history of the rest of the continent.


Best African banks

There are many banks in Africa that are considered to be among the best on the continent. Some of these banks include:

  1. Standard Bank: One of the largest banks in Africa, with a strong presence in 18 countries across the continent.
  2. Absa Group: A leading financial services provider in Africa, with operations in 12 countries.
  3. FirstRand: A major financial services provider in Africa, with operations in more than 10 countries on the continent.
  4. Ecobank: A pan-African bank with operations in more than 35 countries across the continent.
  5. Nedbank: A leading South African bank with a strong presence in several other African countries.
  6. United Bank for Africa: A pan-African bank with operations in more than 20 countries on the continent.
  7. Zenith Bank: A leading Nigerian bank with a strong presence in several other African countries.
  8. Guaranty Trust Bank: A leading Nigerian bank with operations in several other African countries.
  9. Access Bank: A leading Nigerian bank with a strong presence in several other African countries.
  10. Standard Chartered Bank: A major international bank with a strong presence in several African countries.


African banking industry
flex flex-col items-start gap-4 whitespace-pre-wrap”>The banking industry in Africa is a rapidly developing sector, with many banks operating on the continent. African banks offer a range of financial services including savings and checking accounts, loans, mortgages, credit cards, and investment products. Some African banks have a strong focus on retail banking, while others are more focused on corporate and investment banking. Many African banks are also active in microfinance, providing financial services to small businesses and individuals who may not have access to traditional banking services. The banking industry in Africa is regulated by national and regional regulatory bodies, and is subject to the same prudential regulations and supervisory standards as banks in other parts of the world.


There are many challenges facing the banking industry in Africa, including a lack of access to financial services for many people, especially in rural areas, as well as a lack of infrastructure and technological development in some countries. However, there are also many opportunities for growth and development in the sector, as more and more people in Africa gain access to financial services and as the continent’s economies continue to grow.


African development bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution that is dedicated to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life for people in Africa. The AfDB was established in 1964 and is headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It is owned by member countries from across the continent, as well as non-African countries and private sector investors.


The AfDB provides financial assistance to African countries in the form of loans, grants, and technical assistance. It also works to promote economic development and integration in Africa, and to encourage private sector investment in the continent. The AfDB focuses on key areas such as infrastructure development, agriculture, health, education, and the environment. It works closely with other development organizations and partners to achieve its goals and make a positive impact in Africa.


African bank cellphone banking

Mobile banking, also known as cellphone banking, is a type of banking service that allows customers to access their bank accounts and conduct financial transactions using their mobile phones. This can include things like checking account balances, paying bills, transferring money, and depositing checks. Mobile banking is becoming increasingly popular in Africa, as it provides a convenient and accessible way for people to manage their finances, especially in areas where traditional banking services may be limited.


Many African banks offer mobile banking services to their customers, either through a dedicated mobile app or through SMS text messages. To use mobile banking, customers typically need to have a smartphone or feature phone and a data plan, and they must enroll in the service through their bank. Some African banks also offer mobile banking services to people who do not have a traditional bank account, through partnerships with mobile money providers. Mobile banking can help to increase financial inclusion in Africa and make it easier for people to access financial services.


African import export bank

The African Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank) is a pan-African financial institution that is focused on promoting trade and economic development in Africa. It was established in 1993 and is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt. Afreximbank is owned by member countries from across the continent, as well as private sector investors.

Afreximbank provides a range of financial products and services to support trade and economic development in Africa, including trade finance, export development finance, project finance, and structured finance. It also works to promote trade between Africa and other regions of the world, and to encourage investment in the continent. Afreximbank is committed to supporting the economic development of Africa and helping to create a more integrated and prosperous continent.

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