Standard Chartered Group #ticker:SCBK will channel Sh2 trillion ($20 billion) in the next two years towards financing infrastructure projects under the Chinese State-led Belt and Road initiative, with half of the signed deals being in Africa.
President Xi Jinping launched the road and belt project in 2013 to interlink China with the rest of the world through a network of modern roads, ports, pipelines and railways to ease flow of goods and people and grow trade volumes.
“Our commitment to facilitate belt and road financing is largely as an intermediary and service provider across a full range of lending, financial markets, transaction banking, capital markets and project finance activities,” StanChart Kenya CEO Lamin Manjang said in an address to Chinese customers.
“50 per cent of the deals closed in 2017 are made in Africa, 25 per cent in South Asia and the rest are across the belt and road footprint,” he added.
China has in recent years entrenched its presence in African economies including Kenya, where its financing and constructing mega projects such as railways, roads and office towers.
To demonstrate commitment to the initiative, StanChart has set up a China desk manned by Chinese speaking bankers to facilitate its $20 billion financing drive by 2020.
The Chinese-led road and belt initiative has seen dozens of countries sign up and spans Asia, Middle East, Asia and Europe.
It is seen as a modern equivalent of the ancient Silk Road, a network of trade routes that linked China to central Asia and the Arab world, enabling silk exports.