"There is nothing permanent except change," said Greek philosopher Heraclitus, and how true this is Change - and fast-paced change - is a hallmark of today’s society.
Change can be unsettling at times. But it can also be exciting, filled with new beginnings. It marks the start of a new journey, a new page in the history books.
This is where Absa Group Limited found itself after separating from Barclays PLC, in one of the largest corporate separation projects in commercial history: at the beginning of a new era, with endless possibilities.
This shift in the Group’s stakeholders freed us to chart our path as an African Bank, run by Africans, with global recognition and scalability. Importantly, it gave birth to one of the largest independent African Banks.
As part of this shift the Group renamed our listed entity to Absa Group Limited last year, choosing Absa as our brand across our 10 operations and two affiliates in Africa, pending regulatory approvals.
As we move forward, we will become Absa across all our operations, leveraging the impressive brand equity and homegrown success of our South African subsidiary, while building on the Barclays’ pedigree in Africa.
Absa has been one of the “big five banks” in South Africa for more than 30 years, winning a multitude of awards for its commercial success, social commitment, and innovation.
As a Group, we are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with a balance sheet of around US$100-billion.
And we do not dare underestimate the task ahead of us.
The banking sector in Africa
We will use every resource to embrace a digital future that enhances easy and better banking for all. This has profound implications for the future of banking in Africa.
While our new Brand is grounded in the traditional and trusted banking paradigm, our independence enables us to be more responsive to new economies and shifting market conditions.
Our separation from Barclays PLC provided us with an opportunity to make a step change in investment in new technology to move with these changes, and to lead.
We are building on the strong foundations that have been laid in our operations across Africa over more than 100 years. People in Africa have banked with us for generations – and at our core, we are the same bank millions of customers have trusted over generations in Africa.
Our new strategy in Africa reflects our autonomy, our ambition and our passion.
It is marked by two changes: firstly, our new strategy encourages boldness, whereas in the past, we were arguably overly cautious.
*Obonye Malope is the Barclays Bank of Botswana Head of Marketing and Corporate Relations