Africa Merchant Capital has recruited Kenton Hartwell as general manager for its trade finance business.

He joins from Crown Agents Bank, where he was vice-president of trade finance for the past two and a half years, focusing on the origination of short-term financial institution trade finance business with African banks.

Hartwell brings decades of African banking and trade finance experience, having previously held various operations, middle office and front office roles covering structured trade and commodity finance transactions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to Crown Agents Bank, he spent 19 years at Standard Bank in London, and has also worked at National Westminster Bank.

Africa Merchant Capital is an alternative financier providing trade and asset finance to African SMEs as well as corporate finance advisory services.

In his new role, Hartwell will head up AMC Trade Finance, a subsidiary of the Africa Merchant Capital group. Based in London, he will be in charge of developing the group’s trade finance business alongside the group CEO Cobus Visagie and CFO Jan Louis van den Berg.

The firm says in a statement that Hartwell will “play a key role in meeting the company’s ambitious growth goals”.

“Attracting someone of Kenton’s calibre into the business is a great endorsement of our strategy and ambition,” says Visagie. “He brings with him African banking experience which will be vital as we continue our ambitious plans to grow and develop Africa Merchant Capital as a leading merchant bank in Africa.”

Kenton adds that AMC Trade Finance is at an “important stage of its development”.

“This is an excellent opportunity for me to use my knowledge and experience in African trade finance to influence the strategy, processes and operation of the business as it seeks to grow and diversify its product offering across the continent,” he says.