The Barclays Plc chief executive Jes Staley has confirmed that the bank will partly divest from its African business within the next ‘two to three years’.
The London-based lender, which owns 62.3 per cent of Barclays Africa, through an entity that in turn holds a 68.5 per cent stake in Barclays Bank Kenya (BBK), has been under intense media focus since late last year when news emerged of its divestiture plans.
The BBK leadership has sought to reassure customers that it will continue operating in the country even after the divestiture.
Staley, in an interview with the American financial television channel CNBC, said that the London Group headquarters would ‘subject to shareholder and regulatory approval…reduce our interest in Barclays Africa to a non-controlling, non-consolidated position over the next two to three years’.
Banks in western markets have gone through turbulent times since the financial crisis almost a decade ago, and the Barclays re-organisation is a response to the market changes.
Staley, who took office in December, has hinted that the bank would be looking to concentrate on its core operations in the United States and the United Kingdom, thus putting its African operations on the sale block.
In addition, the economic turmoil in South Africa prompted the UK-based bank to re-think its continental operations.
South Africa remains the lender’s biggest business, and serves as its African headquarters.
Barclays Bank Kenya is expected to brief the media in Nairobi later this afternoon.