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Abdel Mumin Zampalegre, General Manager of Bank of Africa (BOA) Senegal, spoke to Africa Oil & Power about how BOA Senegal boasts extensive experience in the region and is supported by the Moroccan Bank of Foreign Commerce. Thanks to its ambitious stance toward becoming a key player in the local energy finance sector, BOA Senegal is set to strengthen the country’s capabilities in financing future oil and gas prosperity.
Do you see new opportunities emerging in Senegal’s energy sector, especially given first oil and gas will be produced from offshore fields in 2023?
We are seeing new opportunities at a group level, as well as at the local Senegal branch. An entire indigenous oil and gas sector is about to be developed. An array of subcontractors is about to enter the market and it is our goal to support them. The local banking association is looking at how to approach the oil majors in order to be involved in investment finance. Rather than coming with offshore financing and making the investments, the national banking system must be associated with the financing of these investments.
We cannot claim all the needs of the petroleum sector as our own, but we must take our share of the financing. Thus, we are positioning ourselves to support the majors and the subcontractors. Furthermore, we will be able to cater to the needs of individuals, as well as other involved sectors such as transport services. Banks today are prepared to play this role. Finally, there is also an array different companies that will be acting as middle companies between the State and the operators in the petroleum sector. I believe the State will have a stake in many projects in the sector, and in that sense, there will be a need to support the Government, accompany it and propose financing models. This is where our parent company can intervene for the raising of capital. The Moroccan Bank of Foreign Commerce (BMCE) has strong expertise in this area to facilitate its rise in corporate capital.
Do you believe oil and gas production will have a positive effect on Senegal’s economy as a whole?
I believe the opportunities are immense. If we look at the forecast growth indicators with revenues from oil and gas products, the country will receive hundreds of millions of dollars from petroleum production. Senegal is engaged today in major infrastructure projects for the emergence of the country – this will give a boost to all of these projects, which facilitate urban mobility and improve the living environment. These are things that will help improve growth and boost consumption.
What is your message to investors who are considering the opportunities that exist in Senegal, and with BOA Senegal as a possible partner?
In terms of investment, the key is trust. In Senegal, we are listed on the regional stock exchange, which translates to strong credibility from regulators and clients. We have a solid parent company behind us with an international ranking, the BMCE. We have an approved signature that counts on the international financial markets level. We are able to approve letters of credit. We have the confidence of all banks. We comply with all international protocols, such as the fight against money laundering. We are a bank with international standards. It is good to hire the services of someone who knows the market when you go to a country, who is credible and who can accompany you at any time. We have the capacity to support investors who choose BOA. In Senegal, we are the second-largest banking network in the country, which is one of the largest banking networks in West Africa. According to recent surveys carried out, in terms of image and reputation, BOA Group came in fourth place. South Africa and North African banking groups were also included in the study.
Now, we have to invest in Senegal because it is a great opportunity. There is a lot more to Senegal than its soon-to-be oil production. Senegal is one of the first African producing countries of peanut oil and cashew nuts; there is an economy that is diversified. Coming to Senegal is an opportunity to act in several areas. And again, the key in business is stability. Senegal is the most democratic country in West Africa and the most stable. Obviously, for business, it’s very good. The country is also in the West African Economic and Monetary Union with a common currency and a fixed rate pegging to the Euro, which guarantees the investments that we make and protects against forex fluctuations. This is a set of indicators for this country, which is a beautiful investment destination.