Africa’s Top 100 Banks 2020: West and Central Africa

West African banks jostle for position, with Gabon's BGFI the only entry from Central Africa.


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The top of the West and Central African regional ranking in this year’s survey of Africa’s Top 100 Banks shows few surprises. Nigeria’s Zenith Bank stays as top performer, with Tier 1 capital up 18% to $2bn (it slips from #13 to #14 on the main ranking), total assets of $17.5bn and strong ROE of 28% as profits climbed 8% to $576m.

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, based in Togo, edges up to regional #3 with Tier 1 capital up 9% to $1.7bn. Its total assets are $23.6bn, the biggest by far in the region. However, its profits are smaller or on par with smaller Nigerian banks.

First Bank of Nigeria moves up the rankings this year (its previous results were for 2017). Its latest results has seen it increase its capital to $1.9bn up from $1.6bn in 2017.

Nigeria’s Access Bank, whose CEO, Herbert Wigwe, won Banker of the Year at the African Banker Awards, showed strong 30% growth in Tier 1 capital to $1.4bn (up from #24 to #21 on the main ranking) to edge past compatriot United Bank for Africa, with capital up 21% to $1.4bn, which is down from #21 to #22 on the main ranking. Stanbic IBTC in Nigeria is another strong performer, with Tier 1 capital up 37% to $633m.

Senegal’s Bank of Africa group, majority owned by Morocco’s BMCE, shows Tier 1 capital of $937m, total assets up 10% to $9.6bn and net profit down from $152m to $126m, slipping back marginally from #28 to #30 in the main ranking.

New entrants in the regional top 20 are Absa Bank of Ghana with Tier 1 capital of $205m, and CitiBank Nigeria with Tier 1 capital at $164m.

A focus on central Africa puts the spotlight onto Gabon’s BGFI Bank (Banque Gabonaise et Française Internationale), the only central African bank in the ranking, at #32, up from #34 last year.

It is one of the biggest banks of Francophone Africa, with subsidiaries in 10 countries, but was plagued by scandal including alleged embezzlement and terrorism financing in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and theft by top managers.

The bank has taken clean-up measures since then and Tier 1 capital was up 40% to $860m, while assets fell 1% to $5.4bn and net profits slid by 30% to $35m for a low 4% ROE.

Nigeria’s Zenith Bank stays as top performer, with Tier 1 capital up 18% to $2bn, total assets of $17.5bn and strong ROE of 28%.

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