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Barclays Africa Rebrands, Starts Trading on JSE as Absa

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the major players in the financial sector in Africa, Barclays Africa Group Limited, has officially rebranded its identity.

The company, which was saddled with the responsibility of finding a new buyer for 9mobile, a telecoms firm in Nigeria, has changed its name to Absa Group Limited.

A statement issued by the company on Thursday disclosed that Barclays Africa has already started trading under its new name and new share code (ABG) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

It was disclosed that the name change marks the start of a new era for the group as a standalone African group with a new brand design fit for a forward-looking business in a digital age.

No longer just a South African brand, the new Absa Group has a presence in 12 African countries and plans to open international offices in the UK and the US.

“Our new name and brand are an expression of our new purpose and strategic direction, which commits us to growing in Africa,” Absa Group Limited Chief Executive Officer Maria Ramos said.

“We are rallying around a shared sense of purpose and identity while celebrating our diversity,” she added.

Absa Group launched a new growth strategy on March 1, 2018 as it separates from Barclays PLC. The strategy prioritises cultural transformation as well as restoring leadership position in the group’s core business areas, and developing pioneering propositions for customers and clients.

The new Absa brand design is an expression of the group’s new purpose, which is: ‘bringing your possibility to life’.

The rollout of the new Absa brand design in South Africa will be completed in 2019. The new Absa brand will also be rolled out to Absa Group’s Barclays banks in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia by mid-2020, subject to approvals including from regulators in those countries. Product and service functionality will not be affected by the rebranding programme.

In renaming Barclays banks across the continent, the group will be able to build on the pedigree of the Absa brand as a strong and stable bank. The brand has substantial equity – Absa was named the fourth most valuable brand (with an estimated value of R18.9 billion, or about US$1.5 billion) in South Africa by global brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance this year.

“We would like to build the brand as a bank that Africa’s people can be proud of, a truly independent African bank with global scalability,” said Ramos. “A single brand will enable us to unite behind a single identity, purpose and strategy; we are excited by the enormous opportunity we have to create a bank that Africa can be proud of.”

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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