|Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank aims to expand further its operations in Africa after entering the Zimbabwean market last month, Business Day reported. The bank, which was launched five years ago, targets the regions of the Southern African Development Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. "The name AfrAsia is our strategy which is Africa and Asia. Weve had operations now in South Africa for almost three years. Zimbabwe is our new foray into the region, where the risk and returns are quite attractive," Business Day quoted the banks CEO James Benoit as saying in an interview on Summit TV. He pointed at Tanzania and Kenya as potential targets for expansion. AfrAsia Bank bought a 35% stake in Zimbabwean banking and financial group Kingdom Financial Holdings, which has a presence in Zimbabwe and Malawi, for USD 9.5mn. Benoit considers that the only risk to the banks Africa expansion strategy is the slower growth in China, which is a key importer of African commodities. On the upside, there is the potential of mining, telecoms and banking services now that much of Africa is becoming a middle-income, consumer-driven economy. AfrAsia Bank plans to make a dual listing on the stock markets in Mauritius and South Africa in the next 12 to 18 months, in order to benefit from the advantages of Mauritius free-trade agreements and of the high liquidity of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Benoit said.
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