Marcopolis presents the Mozambique Report focused on topics such as investments, doing business, economy and regional integration, featuring interviews with Mozambican leaders. The sectors under review in this issue are agriculture, banking, energy, industry, telecom, IT, tourism, logistics and many more.
Paulo Sousa is the CEO of BCI (Banco Comercial e de Investimentos), one of the leading financial institutions in Mozambique.
Interview with Paulo Sousa, CEO of BCI
What is your assessment of the banking sector in Mozambique?
Mozambique boasts a great financial and banking system. Here, banks are compliant with international standards, even in areas that require a more "technological" approach, such as payments, cards, internet banking and mobile banking. BCI (Banco Comercial e de Investimentos) has a sound banking infrastructure and complies with international standards, such as Basel II for instance.
The banking sector in the country is open to foreign competition. Many of the banks belong to international groups, mainly from Portugal and South Africa, which are the leading ones here. The market is also highly concentrated. There are 18 banks in the country, but two of them control about 60% of the market, namely BCI and Millennium bim. Furthermore, we have the biggest network in the country with 180 branches. BCI and Millennium bim are really the banks which are investing and approaching the most remote communities, where the activity is different from what we see in Maputo, the main focus being agriculture, fishing and tourism.
Besides, it is important to mention that the banking sector in Mozambique has been growing at a faster rate than the GDP, so it has been one of the most important drivers of the growth in the country.
How is the worldwide economy doing in relation to Mozambique economy?
Over the last ten years, Mozambique’s economy has grown at a steady pace. It grew at a rate of about 7%, due to projects and investments taking place in the country.
We have 18 banks in the country, but two of them control about 60% of the market, namely BCI and Millennium bim. Furthermore, we have the biggest network in the country with 180 branches.
The recent discoveries of mineral resources and energy reserves are important areas that could jumpstart the economic growth. When the country starts exporting coal, cotton and other commodities, the economy will grow even faster.
One of the challenges for the economy is the public deficit, government budget and delay for many future investments on several projects in development. The country needs to upgrade its infrastructure such as airports, electricity network and much more. The population growth is putting pressure on public services such as healthcare and education, which depend on the governmental spending. Over the next few months, the country will undergo a challenging period. But the outlook remains positive in the long term.
What is your role, as a bank, and what is your strategy here in Mozambique?
BCI is a local bank; “we are from here” is our brand. About 99% of our employees are from Mozambique. The bank has an in-depth knowledge of the country and is integrated with the local communities.
BCI is one of the best banking brands in the country. The people of Mozambique love BCI. The focus is to be close to the people and to the country. The bank has pioneered several banking areas. BCI is responsible for opening 6/7 branches on the country and for building the biggest network of ATMs in Mozambique.
Since my arrival, in 2013, the bank’s clients grew from 0.56 million to a whopping 1.3 million. In less than 3 years the banks has been able to double the clients. BCI has received numerous awards as the best retail bank in Mozambique over the years. We are here to help the country grow in many areas.
Our mission is to be the closest bank to Mozambican people. There is a huge potential for banking in Mozambique. The banks has introduced many offers, services and trainings on financing and marketing, among others, and we have many credit facilities for different people/groups.
Can you explain how you approach the corporate clientele?
The bank has created an international desk for big companies in Mozambique. We have specific teams to take care of corporate clients and their businesses, as well as teams that help them with their setting up in the country.
These initiatives make a difference and partly contribute to our success. We offer a good service, online and offline presence, and much more. Many of these companies have their markets outside of Maputo and some in remote areas, because they work with the mining or gas sector, having many employees and needing a service that can serve them anywhere and consistently.
I think our dream would be to consolidate our brand in the market and be seen as the best bank in Mozambique.
What type of services and solutions can you offer to SMEs?
BCI provides products and services that used to be offered only to big companies, such as specific call centers. The bank offers credit facilities as availability of trade financing used to be a problem in the country. BCI Negócios PME helps certain sectors, such as agriculture or other rural activities, with credit solutions. We help with the establishment of these companies. Other sectors that the bank is focusing on are the energy and real estate sectors, which are the fastest growing sectors in Mozambique.
By associating ourselves to the center of support for entrepreneurs, we managed to promote SME’s in Mozambique, together with all the other affiliated enterprises of this partnership.
What would you like to achieve in the next 3 years?
I think our dream would be to consolidate our brand in the market and be seen as the best bank in Mozambique, for being committed to the country. A reference in the region.