Barclays relocates African HQ to Johannesburg from Dubai

Barclays will move it’s African headquarters from Dubai to Johannesburg, South Africa.

UK banking giant Barclays plc, which owns a majority stakes in Absa, is relocating its Africa headquarters in Dubai back to Johannesburg.

The group has been running its Africa operations out of the Middle East office since 2006 when it moved from Johannesburg.

“We’re excited about the growth opportunity in Africa where we have operations in 10 countries and want to be closer to the business there. So we’re moving our back office operations back to South Africa,” said a spokesperson for the group.

Barclays said the Dubai operation employed around 120 people who had been given the option of relocating to Africa or resigning.

Barclays and Absa, South Africa’s biggest retail bank which operates in 12 African countries, recently developed the “One Bank in Africa” strategy to combine their operations in the continent.

Barclays Chief Executive, Bob Diamond, said earlier this year that the companies had agreed on a full geographical and global product structure for Africa from July 2011 the head offices of Absa Africa and Barclays Africa would be operationally combined.

“Together with our majority shareholder, Barclays, we have been exploring ways to leverage the significant potential of their combined African businesses with the view to providing our customers and clients with a more holistic service on the continent,” Absa said at the time.

“The focus now will be on the actions, including securing the requisite regulatory approvals, to establish the new regional office. The intention is to better align our businesses to meet the needs of our customers and clients on the continent.

“The new geographical and global product structure will provide a platform that will enable us to look for opportunities to serve our customers and clients better, with the full range of products offered across both Absa and Barclays,” it added.

More development and investment needs to be done to the financing sector of Africa.  Given that 7 of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the next decade according to the IMF will be in Africa, the sector is of great importance.  This move by Barclays is laying the ground to having a solid foundation of expansion and growth on the continent in the mid to long term future.

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