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Banks 'ramping up African presence'

Global banks are becoming increasingly eager to boost their presence in Africa as the continent experiences rapid expansion rates.

That is according to a report published today (3 January) by the Financial Times, which noted that a wide array of Western companies are looking to tap into the potential for growth across Africa.

Despite the fact that such institutions are struggling to cope with the effects of the ongoing eurozone debt crisis and the threat of a global double-dip recession, they see the emerging continent as an ideal location to invest.

For instance, Barclays - which operates in more than 50 countries worldwide - has recently switched its African headquarters to Johannesburg from Dubai, while Chinese financier ICBC now also has offices in South Africa.

John Coulter of JPMorgan told the news source that "better governance and macroeconomic policies" mean that "Africa is being taken more seriously as an investment and business destination".

By Asim Shah