LocalKnowledgeAfrica are new African centres of excellence launched in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Mauritius and South Africa by the Ecobank Nedbank Alliance to support business in developing expansion and acquisition strategies across the African continent.

“Many of Nedbank’s clients in the corporate, capital and business banking areas expressed a need to expand their businesses into Africa but faced numerous challenges,” says the head of the Ecobank Nedbank Alliance, Smit Crouse. “The main challenge facing most businesses that want to expand beyond the South African market is the diversity of the continent in terms of the complex regulatory and legal framework, language barriers and culture to name a few.”
The Ecobank Nedbank Alliance, which was established seven months ago, has assisted in bridging these gaps by providing customers with access to a combined pan-African banking network covering 33 countries (including South Africa) with over 1 000 branches and banking outlets across the continent. Through this relationship customers will have the convenience and benefit of a ‘one bank’ experience across the combined footprint of both banking groups.
LocalKnowledgeAfrica supports this framework and assists companies as they grow and do business in Africa.
“Strategic thinking and holistic solutions allow us to work with clients to identify those African countries providing exciting opportunities for the products and segments that are their expansion focus,” says Crouse. “Our local knowledge enables us to manage the legal, regulatory and risk aspect of a project effectively and this ensures optimally mitigating the risk of doing business in Africa.”
He adds that recognising strategy execution as fundamental to client success has allowed projects to be taken from concept to a conclusion that creates sustainable value.  “We follow an outcomes-based methodology that defines key milestones for a strategy, so that success is identifiable and measurable,” he explains.
The centre works with the banking solutions team to support the banking needs of clients as they relate to their African strategy. Country-specific tailored solutions across the African continent include day-to-day transactional banking; financing and investment banking advisory services.
“Our goal is to provide customised solutions to clients seeking new opportunities to export goods and services across the African countries in which the Alliance has representation,” says Crouse. “Our local knowledge enables us to provide a global approach and helps clients effectively mitigate regional trade challenges.
“Africa is on the brink of a new future, one rooted in strong governance, transparency and its people and we would like to create sustainable, long-term relationships as a basis for the socio-economic development of the continent. By partnering with our clients and utilising our local African knowledge in developing and executing their strategy we assist in making this future attainable.”