Nedbank and the Bank of China (BoC) have signed an agreement that will facilitate both parties’ lending, trade finance and transactional banking businesses across Africa.

Clients from each bank will benefit from the alliance: with access to the African bank, BoC customers will be supported as they look to grow and invest in South Africa and the rest of the continent; and Nedbank clients looking to expand into China will be equally assisted.

In March this year the two banks worked together on an R800mn facility for a cement plant which will be built in South Africa’s Limpopo province. According to Brian Kennedy, group managing director of Nedbank Capital, the new agreement “formalises an existing relationship between Nedbank and the BoC, and the banks will continue to work together on transactions as joint mandated lead arrangers”.

Ultimately the co-operation agreement will grow business flows between China and Africa: today China accounts for 20% of African trade, and China has proposed or committed approximately US$101bn to commercial projects in Africa since 2010. According to a statement issued by Nedbank, the banks’ new alliance will play a key role in growing and developing this relationship.

Zhikun Qiu, CEO of the BoC Johannesburg branch, which was established in 2000, comments on the union: “The signing of this agreement can be recognised as a major milestone in the development of the collaboration between the two banks and will enable both parties to deepen co-operation to their mutual benefit.”