Middle East and Africa: Best Chinese Bank in the Region for BRI 2019
Agricultural Bank of China
Agricultural Bank of China is playing an increasingly important role in promoting Belt and Road objectives in the United Arab Emirates. China’s third-largest bank opened its second Middle Eastern branch in Dubai in May 2017. The new operation acts as a renminbi clearing centre for the UAE, as well as to offer financial services, including trade finance and syndicated loans, to local companies.
In its first two years of operation, the centre – which is the first of its kind to be set up by ABC internationally – has handled transactions worth more than Rmb83 billion ($11.8 billion).
Through its Dubai branch, ABC provides consulting and financial services for Chinese firms operating and investing in UAE, as well as participating in large-scale infrastructure projects in the Gulf region.
The bank has recently advised on construction projects including Dubai’s Federal Supreme Court, the Expo Metro Station and a solar power plant in Oman. ABC helped finance the landmark Acwa Power Noor 1 Energy solar plant through its Dubai International Financial Centre branch.
In Africa, ABC has broken new ground for Chinese lenders through its involvement in Banque Sino-Congolaise pour L’Afrique (BSCA).
Established in the Republic of Congo in 2015, BSCA is a joint venture between ABC and local partners, including the Congolese government. It aims to promote economic and financial cooperation between China and Africa, and to improve financial inclusion in Central Africa. To achieve this, the bank is promoting multi-channel banking: it has the largest ATM network in the Republic of Congo and is trying out a new branch model with self-service machines in rural areas. Its low-cost credit cards for poorer clients have already attracted more than 30,000 customers.