Middle East and Africa: Best International Bank for BRI 2019
Citi is ideally placed to support Belt and Road trade and initiatives across the region given its presence in 24 countries in the Middle East and Africa and its strong track record in Asia.
The US bank has taken full advantage of this opportunity. Tony Wu, regional China desk head for Middle East, Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, heads a team of four dedicated China desk bankers in MEA. Two are based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and cover the Middle East, one is located in Nigeria and the fourth is in Kenya. The bank plans to expand its team further this year.
Citi is also committed to promoting renminbi internationalization, one of the key strategic goals of BRI. In MEA, it offers renminbi cash management and foreign exchange services in the UAE, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Tanzania, Gabon, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.
Citi provides its services to more than 170 Chinese companies operating in MEA in sectors including oil and gas, power, telecoms and construction. These include two Chinese oil and gas companies working in Iraq, which Citi supports with cash management and foreign exchange services, as well as several construction companies in Nigeria that require support in issuing renminbi letters of credit.
Citi provided an innovative cash-pool and liquidity-management solution this year to a Chinese power company operating in Cameroon that allowed the customer to centralize its surplus funds in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Chad and the Republic of Congo.
The bank was chosen as sole financing provider by a large Chinese state-owned enterprise to bid for a tramway project in north Africa valued at €150 million with a tenor of 15 years. As a result, in the first half of this year, Citi’s BRI-related business in MEA increased 27% – a rate of growth that is expected to be maintained over next year.