Citigroup Inc. Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit said Africa is a major new driver of growth as consumer spending slows in the U.S.
“Africa has a major role to play in this new world,” Pandit told reporters in Johannesburg today. “The most important thing we are seeing is an exponential rise in trade between emerging markets.”
Pandit is paying his first business visit to Africa this week as global banks seek deals in emerging markets to compensate for slower growth in developed economies. After South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, he will visit Nigeria, the second biggest. JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon made a similar visit last month.
While Citigroup will focus on providing corporate and investment banking services, the bank is also looking at opportunities to service Africa’s growing middle class, Pandit said. The lender, which has 200 million customer accounts, has no plans to make acquisitions in Africa, and hasn’t identified any specific countries for expansion.