MOZAMBIQUE – Absa Bank Moçambique, formerly Barclays Bank Mozambique, has opened its first branch in Maputo with the new branding and new colours on, officially starting its banking operations under the new name, reports Club of Mozambique.

With Absa Bank Moçambique branches becoming operational, customers of the former Barclays Bank will be able to use their cards at ATMs, their accounts, as well as to conduct banking operations and other transactions in a normal manner.

The bank’s managing director Rui Barros recently said that the name change is part of one of the largest and most ambitious branding projects in the history of the continent, a broader transition programme in several African countries by the Absa Group.

The move follows a decision taken in 2018 by the parent company, the Absa Group, and the process of restructuring Barclays branches across the country with the colours representing the new brand is currently underway.

The group is listed on the Johannesburg, South Africa Stock Exchange, has a balance sheet with total assets of over US$91 billion and is one of Africa’s largest financial services groups, offering an integrated set of banking products and services, for retail and business, investment, asset management and insurance.

Absa Group Limited, formerly Barclays Africa Group Limited and initially Amalgamated Banks of South Africa, is present in 12 African countries, has a representative office in London and is about to open another in New York.

Absa climbed to number 2 in this year’s bank ranking from last year’s number 4 with capital of US$5.3bn.

It is still busy with restructuring, after Barclays Bank sold Absa Group shares equivalent to 12.2% of the total in 2016 and 33.7% in 2017, leaving some 85% of the bank’s shares widely held on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Total assets were US$75bn and its profit bounced back to a healthy US$557m.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed an unfunded US$250 million Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) facility with ABSA bank.

In a statement, AfDB explains that the 3-year RPA facility was signed on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Form through its trade finance operations.

Under this 3-year RPA facility, the Bank and ABSA will share default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks (IBs) and confirmed by ABSA.

Leveraging the Bank’s AAA rating, ABSA will underwrite trade transactions issued by African issuing banks across key sectors like agriculture, energy, and light-manufacturing with a special focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) in fragile and low-income African countries.