Standard Bank staff in Africa join the celebration of China's Lunar New Year

Source:China Daily 2020-02-04


Members of staff at the Standard Bank head office in Kenya take 'selfies' to celebrate the Chinese new year in Nairobi. [Photo/Otiato Opali]

The Standard Bank in Africa has joined the Chinese community in ushering in the lunar new year. Under the theme "Wear Red for China," all the bank's staff across the continent dressed in red on Jan 31 to mark the Chinese year of the rat.

The bank also used the occasion to show their solidarity with the Chinese people as they battle the novel coronavirus outbreak. Speaking in Johannesburg, Craig Ebden who serves as the bank's head of China-Africa sales in South Africa said that the bank stands with China during these tough times.

"China is very dear to us at Standard Bank, " Ebden said. "This year to celebrate the Chinese new year and show our solidarity with China which is dealing with a difficult virus, we decided to wear red across all the 22 African countries where the Standard Bank has a presence. We will continue to raise awareness and do what we can even in a small capacity to help the Chinese people." 

The Standard Bank Kenya staff hold placards bearing messages of goodwill for the people of China.[Photo/Otiato Opali]

In Kenya, Maurice Matumo who serves as the bank's head of personal and business banking said that China has been a vital business partner and that is why the bank was joining in the country's new year celebrations.

"As the people of China mark their new year, we are cognizant of the fact that this time of celebration has been hampered by the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus," Matumo said. "As the Standard Bank in Kenya, we show our solidarity with the people of China and those who have been afflicted by the virus by wearing red today." 

Matumo added that they hope the concerted effort by the Chinese government with the help of the international community will put this matter to rest as we usher in the year of the rat.

The Standard Bank in Africa is one of the few financial institutions that has created a dedicated service for Chinese businesses and individuals working with Africa.

According to Catherine Mabwa, an analyst in the bank's Africa- China Center in Kenya's capital of Nairobi, the bank established the Africa-China Center in 2016 in order to give its growing portfolio of Chinese clientele a more custom-made service.

"We have a partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China which puts us in a better position to facilitate trade between China and African countries as well as for our Chinese clients in both Africa and China," he said.

"We offer our clients services in various currencies including the Chinese Yuan making it easy for our clients to do transactions since they don't have to convert their money into US dollars to do business in Africa. In Kenya we have a portfolio of around 400 Chinese corporate accounts in addition to other personal products for individual Chinese customers," Mabwa said.

Otiato Opali in Nairobi, Kenya contributed to this story.


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