August 9, 2019 / 5:55 AM / a month ago

Kenya's KCB Group to boost investments in South Sudan

JUBA, Aug 9 (Reuters) - KCB Group, Kenya’s biggest bank by assets, will boost its investments in South Sudan, a senior company executive said on Thursday, adding that the lender also aims to nearly double its individual customers by the end of next year.

The bank, which also operates in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, shut 12 of its 23 branches in 2016 and 2017 as a devastating civil war ruined the economy and caused hyperinflation in the oil-producing nation.

“Now we are ... focusing on expanding,” Managing Director Roba Waqo Jaldesa told reporters in the capital of Juba.

KCB launched a branch this year and plans to resume operations in the closed offices, he said. “We have enough capital to invest in the market, both in terms of brick and mortar and also technology.”

The bank plans to introduce mobile banking and grow its individual-based customers from 122,000 to more than 200,000 by the end of 2020, he said.

The International Monetary Fund said in June that South Sudan “is in a deep economic crisis” and estimated that real GDP declined by 2.4% in the 2017/18 fiscal year. It did not provide a forecast for the current fiscal year. (Reporting by Denis Dumo, Writing by Maggie Fick, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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