A bank in every city

This interview was originally published in the Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea book.

Manuel Osa Nsue Nsua, Director General
,  Banco Nacional
de Guinea Ecuatorial (BANGE)

The National Bank of Equatorial Guinea (BANGE) is Equatorial Guinea’s majority state-owned bank, and recently opened a branch in Madrid, Spain.

What would you consider BANGE’s milestones since its establishment?

Since our foundation, the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea has managed to become the reference bank for our clients and non-clients, which is one of the objectives set in our strategic plan. For this, during these years we have worked constantly to provide financial solutions that generate added value to our customers in a financial environment of maximum competition, thanks to the professionalism and talent of our employees, technological innovations and the diversification of our products and services.

What did BANGE accomplish in 2017 and what are its plans for 2018?

During 2017, we took an important step with the opening of a representation office in Madrid, Spain. Today, that office is the reference point for information for customers and non-residents in Spain and throughout Europe, who, through this office have been able to manage their finances without the need to travel to Equatorial Guinea. It has also become the main source of information for companies and investors around the world with their sights set on investing and doing business in Equatorial Guinea and CEMAC countries.

During 2018 we will continue working based on the business model defined in our 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. Our business model is defined based on three complementary visions: customer vision, which is the fundamental focus of BANGE’s mission and vision; product vision, where we offer a wide range of products and services according to customer feedback; and network vision, where we have a presence throughout the country through our network of agencies, as well as automated channels such as ATMs, point of sale terminals and Internet banking.

What were the reasons for BANGE winning Equatorial Guinea’s ‘Bank of the Year’ award in 2017?

Many factors contributed to BANGE being recognized for the second consecutive year as the Bank of the Year in Equatorial Guinea. These included: the strength of our balance sheet and our ability to continue generating results in a difficult economic environment; the development of multichannel banking, with special attention to the consolidation of electronic payment services and Internet banking; and financial inclusion, through products and services that meet the financial needs of clients that have difficulty accessing traditional banking services.

Singapore has been cited as a model for Equatorial Guinea’s economic growth. How is the country positioning itself?

In 2011 the Equatorial Guinean Industrialization Plan (PEGUI) was presented, aimed at industrializing the country and diversifying the economy. At the National Industrialization Conference where the plan was presented, clear lines of action were established to position ourselves as a center of attraction for investments that contribute to the industrialization of the country. Specifically, a statement was made to national and international investors to invite them to participate in the industrial sector.

Progress has been made on reforms at the legislative level and the calendar of the National Industrialization Program has been presented, as well as the immediate implementation projects that contribute to diversifying the economy. This will create solid, inclusive economic growth that generates wealth and employment.

What is BANGE’s contribution to the energy sector?

The National Bank of Equatorial Guinea has always been able to be a strategic partner for companies operating in the energy sector. We offer a wide range of services, ranging from local operations to operations at the international level, through our services of transfers abroad. Our bank has a wide network of correspondent banks, which allow operations in the main currencies, especially the USD dollar. This facility offered by our bank with respect to international transfers has contributed significantly to the fluidity of the operations of these companies, given that their exchanges are mainly carried out in the international arena.

Could BANGE take part in mid- stream and downstream projects like the Bioko Oil Terminal and planned petrochemicals complex?

The energy sector has great potential as a generator of employment and growth in Equatorial Guinea and can have a positive influence on the competitiveness of our economy in many industrial and service sectors. The projects of the Bioko Oil Terminal and the petrochemicals plant require an important mobilization of resources, and we consider that it is a great opportunity for BANGE to continue participating in the financing of strategic sectors of our country.

Do you think that Equatorial Guinea is close to achieving its goals for the financial sector proposed in the Horizon 2020 Plan?

With regard to Horizon 2020, important steps have been taken to transform the country into a regional financial center. Critical structural reforms have been launched in the financial sector that strengthens it in the face of external shocks, while promoting financial inclusion and supporting the development of the private sector. Among the main achievements, we have to mention the greater capacities of the personnel of the sector, and the finalization of internal regulations and rules for the declaration of information. In the future, efforts will continue to maintain adequate capital reserves to guarantee the solvency and liquidity of the banks. Work will also be done to deepen the banking sector, while continuing to work closely with the regional authorities to strengthen banking supervision.

What are BANGE’s mid term plans locally and regionally?

Our position in Equatorial Guinea will continue to consolidate. We are in the last phase of our National Expansion Plan, and we will have branches in all provincial capitals and districts. We will continue to increase our client portfolio, working on the greater link- age of these. We will be the first bank in the country to provide electronic payment services.

In the CEMAC sub-region, we will continue to promote our International Expansion Plan. This year we will open a branch in Cameroon and we are exploring other markets both inside and outside CEMAC.

What is your message to potential investors?

The message to investors interested in Equatorial Guinea as a destination to do business is very clear. Our country has opted to diversify its economy, and this is a great opportunity for foreign companies that want to do business here.

The government has established incentives to attract foreign investment. Within the framework of the PEGUI plan, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is developing its project for the industrial city of Mbini. It is an ambitious project that aims to achieve broad development in sectors such as the textile industry, petrochemicals, food and tobacco, wood and cork, furniture, metallurgy and sanitary industry.

In order to improve the business climate and facilitate the entry of investors, a single window was created to streamline the procedures for the creation and establishment of companies. The legal framework that regulates investments in Equatorial Guinea has been created. All these factors make our country an attractive destination for doing business.

This interview was originally published in the Africa Energy Series: Equatorial Guinea book.

Manuel Osa Nsue Nsua, Director General
,  Banco Nacional
de Guinea Ecuatorial (BANGE)