In Nelson Mandela’s words, “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will” – which is the motte BCS Bank in Angola exists by. Financial prosperity is the cornerstone for development and without it Angola’s ambitions will be hard to achieve. Yet, freedom and a dedicated strategy can be the driving force to lead it onto the world stage. Angola has a growing young population, an increasing average life expectancy and growing domestic consumption. It also possesses a unique culture with European traits and an ambition to make a stand in this new era. The country is introducing credible policies to diversify its economy and in the short-term, this will revitalise Angola.
What happens next is significant not only to Angola, but to Africa and the world. Angola’s vast oil reserves are crucial all over the world and the country’s international strategic importance is built upon oil. Chinese and European partners are important to Angola’s markets, not only oil related, but as business partners for research, food and drugs, automotive industry and capital related issues.
Angola’s new president, João Lourenço, has quickly focused on the country’s oil and gas strategy, rapid development of the banking sector and an increasingly beneficial regulatory environment as keys to achieving strong economic growth. Contributing to Angola’s growth story is the main drive for leading Angolan bank BCS Bank, as it continues to be a leading partner in the country’s investment strategy. The implementation of international compliance across the financial services is now an integral part of Angola’s economic backbone.
The Angolan government is adopting a proactive attitude in implementing economic policies better suited to the challenges of the 21st century, as well as responding to renewed calls for urgent economic diversification. However, none of this will bear fruit if it’s not underpinned by banking system that is secure and stable.
Angolan’s economic strategy is less about spending in the here and now and more about investing in the future. Yet, the significant recovery in the price of commodities compared to 2016, plus major new investments in the mining sector (such as diamonds, gold and copper) are boosting the economy, which had slowed since 2014 when the price of oil – which makes up over 90% of exports – collapsed.
As American investment banker Felix Rohatyn once remarked: “At its core, banking is not simply about profit, but about personal relationships”. BCS Bank has this sentiment in its DNA. Banks in Angola are generally well- positioned to grow within national economy helping the country to cement a solid economic financial structure from the rapid increase in the value of the banking market. BCS has not only significantly increased the size of its branch network and the number of deposit accounts in recent years, but has also grown astute at networking as a means of attracting foreign investment. BCS has a key role to play in capturing foreign direct investment and boosting the Angolan economy.
It is therefore crucial to understand the economic structure and regulatory environment that Angola must work within in order to fulfil its rich potential and become a dominant player in the African and global economy. BCS Bank’s main focus is to create products and services to serve its population and act as a catalyst for the expanding Angolan economy. The macroeconomic scenario on which the Angolan State Budget for 2018 is based is optimistic, considering the challenges that the country’s economy will still have to face this year. Rising inflation and a higher costs of living are challenges that must be met in order to stabilise the economy and give way to more international modus operandi and attract foreign investment.
The clear need to introduce measures to diversify the country’s economy, widen the tax base and reduce its vulnerability to global disruption are key measures in President Lourenço’s economic strategy. The President noted in his first speech: “As for economic diplomacy, it is one of the most important aspects of our foreign policy, both at the strictly economic and commercial level of the bilateral, regional and multilateral relations, and in promoting the image of the country abroad, both in the expectation of exports of goods and attracting foreign direct investment.”
Oil production seems optimistic with companies setting to OPEP goals and production costs diminishing. Although Angola is considered the third largest economy in the region and not tipping into recession, the slow forecasted growth is still a good scenario when compared to other economies. A recovery in global oil prices will offer a substantial boost, which will lead to an increase in economic growth. Public sector investment is essential for a large number of development and construction projects, and a number of these projects are set for completion this year. With increasing revenues, the construction on the new Luanda Airport and the Cabinda Deep Water Port will return to schedule.
Investment in human capital, accelerated economic diversification to reduce economic vulnerability, and greater investments in health and education are key components
to Angola’s future success. Investment in agricultural transformation and value chains is needed to diversify exports, thus increasing revenue sources and reducing dependence on oil. The expansion of economic infrastructure and more importantly electricity access, roads and transportation, water supply and sanitation and skills development will improve the business environment and enhance the private sector’s role in economic growth.
Through its innovative banking solutions, and by servicing both private individuals and large corporates, BCS has become a focal point for those with a vision for investment in Angola. The bank’s strong track record since its foundation has demonstrated that its strategy is working and that it can withstand the challenges to offer investors a secure and prosperous path. BCS acknowledges that increased growth, more clients, a diverse scope of investments are all essential, but it knows that solid clients relationships are ultimately what leads to success.
Efficient economic integration is a pillar of the bank’s policy, since the bank is founded on a model of excellence and adherence to strict compliance rules and governance. BCS has a highly efficient team lead by CEO Maria do Céu Figueira, whose twin objectives are to deliver the very best to its clients and to fulfil their expectations in line with the international standards. BCS draws inspiration from another of Nelson Mandela’s sentiments: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
BCS is doing it.