Zenith Bank Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading financial institutions, announced its intention to expand into France, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the French government.
The MoU, signed by Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank, and Olivier Becht, French Minister for Trade, sets the stage for the bank to establish a subsidiary in France. Once the subsidiary is established, it will be regulated by the Autorité’ de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution (ACPR), France’s financial regulatory authority. This expansion offers Zenith Bank the opportunity to establish a strategic presence in the French market, which will further its international growth strategy.
“Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank, expressed his excitement about the signing of the MoU, stating, “It is an honour to sign this agreement with France on behalf of Zenith Bank. We look forward to receiving our licence and commencing operations in early 2024.”
Ovia took the opportunity to express his gratitude to Emmanuelle Blatmann, the French Ambassador to Nigeria, and the other members of the French Embassy in Nigeria for their efforts to strengthen the business relationship between the two countries. He praised the French Embassy for their commitment to promoting trade and investment between Nigeria and France, and for creating an environment conducive to the growth of businesses in both countries.
Olivier Becht, the French Minister for Trade, Attractiveness and French Nationals Abroad, was in attendance at the signing ceremony and expressed his gratitude to Zenith Bank for its decision to open a branch in Paris.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zenith Bank’s first office in the European Union, which is undoubtedly a demonstration of mutual trust. Your vision of international finance has led you to this decision, which can be seen as a milestone in French-Nigerian economic relations and an illustration of our friendship,” he said.
Becht further explained that the French government, under the leadership of President Emmanuel Macron, had put in place a pro-business agenda to make France more attractive to investors. This agenda included reforms in labour law, simplifying a wide range of procedures, and reducing business, corporate, and production taxes by more than €25 billion.
“We hope that the opening of the branch of Zenith Bank in France will also be an occasion to boost the French-Nigerian business in order to have more French companies investing in Nigeria and also to have more Nigerian companies investing in France,” he added.