Receiving a delegation of directors and leading executives of the Ecobank Group, President John Agyekum Kufuor, President of Ghana and current African Union Chairman, on Wednesday April 11th 2007, expressed his satisfaction at the achievements recorded by the pan-African banking group in less than twenty years of operations.
The President said ECOBANK was a good corporate citizen and a leader in the financial sector.
President Kufuor made these remarks during the meeting with the Ecobank delegation. Led by the Ecobank Group Chairman, Mande Sidibe, a former Prime Minister of Mali, the delegation included the Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Arnold Ekpe.
Other members were Albert Essien, Ecobank Regional Director for the West African Monetary Zone, Samuel Adjei, Ecobank Ghana Managing Director, Samuel Ayim, Group Company Secretary and Adama Gaye, Ecobank Group Corporate Affairs and Governmental Relations head.
The meeting took place at the ‘Castle’, the official resident of the President of Ghana, in Accra, the capital.
In discussions with President Kufuor, the Chairman of the Ecobank Group said the visit was intended primarily to congratulate the Ghanaian President and his compatriots on the 50th anniversary of their country’s independence celebrated on March 6th. “Ghana has always stood as a symbol for all the Africans since it paved the way to the independence of the nations in Sub-Saharan Africa’’, said Sidibe.
He added: ‘‘Under President Kufuor’s leadership, Ghana has continued to build on a strong tradition of pan-Africanism and effective governance making it one of the most respected countries in Africa’’.
The meeting also gave the Ecobank delegation the opportunity to extend an invitation to President Kufuor to be the keynote speaker at an international Seminar to be jointly hosted by Ecobank and the Financial Times of London on the growing relations between China and Africa. The Seminar will be held on May 17th as part of the activities surrounding the forthcoming Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank taking place, this year, in Shanghai, China.
The Financial Times, the world’s leading financial publication will partner the Ecobank Group in the organization of the Seminar. The main theme of the Seminar is the ‘role of the banking sector in fostering China-Africa relations’. Leading Chinese, African and international banks are expected to attend the seminar.
The Ecobank Group CEO, Arnold Ekpe, declared: ‘’We believe the seminar and the support of President Kufuor as current Head of the African Union are important as we ponder how to take advantage of the growing partnership between the world’s most populous nation, the one that has been highly successful in addressing the challenges of economic development, and our African nations and institutions still attempting to overcome the same challenges’.
The Ecobank delegation briefed also President Kufuor on recent developments in the group, including its strategy to expand geographically in order to become a full-fledged Pan-African Bank. The Group’s results for 2006, just released, were also presented to him. ‘We have achieved record results in 2006’, said Ekpe. ‘Our group’s balance sheet grew by 59 percent to US$3.5billion while gross revenues before interest expense increased by 47 percent to US$419 million. Profit before tax jumped by 70 percent to US$129.3 million.’
These results prove once again that Ecobank is an enduring African success-story, said Sidibe. Since its inception, the banking group has been a constant trail-blazer in the African banking sector.
Ecobank was established in 1985 by the Federation of the West African Chambers of Commerce with the support of African heads of states in response to the lack of privately-owned African banks in the region. It started its operations in 1988 with the launch of Ecobank Togo, the first subsidiary of the Group. The group has since expanded its operations to 18 countries in Western and Central Africa. Intending also to expand in Eastern and Southern Africa, the Ecobank Group now employs over 6000 persons across 305 branches and offices throughout the continent. Its parent-company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, is listed on the three West African Exchanges, namely the BRVM in Abidjan, the Ghana and Nigeria Exchanges. This triple listing, the first of its kind in Africa, illustrates the pioneering tradition of Ecobank which was set-up as the first regional banking Group in Africa and is now generally regarded as the leading independent regional African banking group.