Ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for honouring our invitation and joining us for this special event as we join our Chinese friends in ushering in the year of the goat, albeit a month early.
The last two decades have seen the relations between Kenya and China grow from strength to strength and today, China occupies a unique position as one of Kenya’s most dependable and influential development partners.
This partnership is particularly visible on the infrastructural front where the collaboration between the two countries has resulted in some of the most transformative projects in the country’s history. In fact last year, Chinese companies were involved in major infrastructural projects valued
at an estimated 2 billion dollars.
In recognition of these developments and indeed China’s global economic influence in general, Barclays has, at the regional and global level, set up special business units to take care of the unique needs and requirements of this important market segment.
At the global level, Barclays Plc has entered into partnerships with Chinese financial institutions to enable us serve Chinese business interests in a smoother manner.
The new department comprises a local team which brings a great understanding of the local economic, political and cultural dynamics and an Asian team with a good knowledge of our clients’ language and culture.
We lean heavily on our regional and global offices for expertise and best practice in order to offer customers the best possible financial service. More importantly, our global footprint enables us to offer our business and retail customers a near seamless service for their transactional business requirements.
Our mission as Barclays is to become Kenya’s ‘Go To’ Bank for all our customers and we have therefore put in place a robust customer engagement strategy which is anchored on the production of innovative and relevant products and a superior service for our customers. We are therefore carrying our various enhancements to our various businesses to ensure that we remain competitive in an ‘uber’ dynamic environment.
Ladies and gentlemen:
Next year, Barclays will mark 100 years of being in Kenya. As one of the country’s most established financial institutions, we have played a major role in shaping the local financial landscape. If I may give a brief overview, we have played a pioneering role on many fronts. We introduced ATMs, Islamic banking and unsecured lending. We also launched the Prestige and Premier offerings which offer a highly personalised service to our high- end clientele.
By constantly innovating, our credit card continues to be the market leader. At the macro level, we have lent our global expertise in partnerships with various government entities that have resulted in the implementation of major transformative projects such as acting as the government’s lead advisor for the highly successful Eurobond.
We have also drawn from our regional resource pool to fund bigger and more impactful social projects through our partnerships with Marriot Drilling Company, Kenya Power and Kengen. In addition, we continue to lend our global and regional expertise to the government and support it
in its quest to make Nairobi a regional financial hub. At the micro level, we have put in place competitive propositions in order to facilitate increasing trade flows between South East Asia and East Africa.
Being the market leader in FX, we are able to offer very reasonable exchange rates as a result of the large volumes of FX flows that we deal with. Our Markets business is also able to offer competitively priced Kenya Shilling funding solutions via FX and Cross currency swaps to our global Corporates that have access to relatively fine priced USD.
In addition, our dealing room is able to offer tailor made solutions to meet specific risk profiles of our clients. Our offering cuts across Rates,FX, and Commodity solutions. We also offer Fixed Term Deposit Account to manage return on excess cash.
Notably, we will, in the first half of this year, have RMP currency and trade settlement capability which will enable our clients to trade directly in the Yuan without having to trade through other currencies.
Ladies and gentlemen
As I conclude, I would like to once again thank you all for attending this event. In particular, I would like to thank our Chinese friends for accepting our invitation. This event speaks to the depth of the relationship between the two countries which according to historical records goes back to the 15th Century. In addition, China was also the fourth country to recognise Kenya’s sovereignty.
As you can see, the friendship between the two states is rooted in a solid foundation based on mutual respect and trust. We therefore envisage that China will not only continue to play a key role in Kenya’s development agenda, but trade between the two countries will also continue to increase. As Barclays, we intend to play our rightful role by providing superior financial services in order to facilitate trade between the two countries.
I thank you!