Evolving Africa strategies using reverse engineering

International experience in achieving growth

In 2007, Standard Chartered, a London-based financial services (FS) group, relocated the global headquarters of its private bank in Singapore – the attraction being the rapidly growing pool of private banking assets in Asia.*

In 2009, HSBC moved its chief executive from London to Hong Kong, to drive the bank’s growth and expansion in Asia – strategically its most important region.**

These examples are becoming increasingly common in numerous industries, with multinationals transforming themselves to become true global players. The foundational principle is to shift organizational power and decision-making from the home country to the markets where growth opportunities exist. As part of the process these businesses require a radical redesign of their operating model, which then impacts the superstructure of the business, as well as, the operating locations, organizational structure, governance processes and accountability levels within the organization.

As Africa’s banks and insurers continue to expand across the African continent, they need to evolve along a similar path to Standard Chartered and HSBC. Expansion to date has been in the form of incremental internationalism-exporting business-in-a-box operating models into culturally similar territories. However, success requires fresh thinking on how to operate across the continent. Emerging patterns of success show multi-regional internationalism that shifts power to the regions and maximizes local responsiveness, with customer friendly strategies and products that respond to local conditions.

It is important to explore how banks and other financial institutions can now revise their strategies and operating models as they continue to expand across the African continent.

*Source: all references to company and market data in this section are sourced from publicly available sources, including online, media reports and company-specific websites.
**Source: all references to company and market data in this section are sourced from publicly available sources, including online, media reports and company-specific websites.

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