Standard Chartered Bank on Wednesday launched its first digital-only retail bank in Africa at a ceremony held in Côte d’Ivoire. Sporting legend and Ivorian icon, Didier Drogba, was named the bank’s ‘Digital Bank Ambassador’.
Standard Chartered is using Côte d’Ivoire as a launchpad of its global digital services.
It reckons the digital bank aims to ‘bridge the gap between traditional banking and the new, digital savvy generation in Côte d’Ivoire, aiming to make banking services simple, more accessible and convenient”.
FT.com describes the move as part of a “fightback by banks in Africa, where telecoms and financial technology companies have grabbed market share from banks by offering services such as mobile money and mobile payments, often to previously unbanked customers”.
The bank’s services include: money transfers and bill payments.
According to FT.com, Côte d’Ivoire has “about 9.8m mobile money accounts in the country registered with telecoms companies, including MTN of South Africa, Orange of France, and Moov, a subsidiary of Etisalat, the Emirates provider, and technology platforms, such as Celpaid and Quash Services”.
In his ambassadorial role, Drogba will promote the digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire and lend his voice and image rights through a series of marketing and community engagement activities over the next year. Drogba will be the first person in Côte D’Ivoire to open a fully digital account at Standard Chartered Bank.
Commenting on the new collaboration, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa & Middle East, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Didier Drogba to launch our first digital bank. Drogba is an inspiration, not only due to his athletic excellence, but also for his generosity and commitment to giving back to his fellow Ivorians. Drogba’s priorities and ideals are very much in line with the bank, making him an ideal partner for this momentous new offering. The launch of our digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire is an important chapter in our developing turnaround story for the region. Going digital also means progression, not just for our business, but also for our clients, and we look forward to revealing details of our first-ever digital bank very soon”.
Olga Arara Kimani, Regional Head of Corporate Affairs and Brand and Marketing, Africa and Middle East, said: “Didier Drogba was the natural choice for us to launch this exciting, truly digital bank. He is a hero and a role model in Côte d’Ivoire and has always demonstrated his strong emotional ties to his home country. This partnership opens up a great opportunity to contribute to the social and economic wellbeing of the country where we have been operating since 2001. The campaign which Drogba will spearhead aims at not only raising awareness for our innovative digital offering but also at further enhancing financial literacy across the country, and this is an exceptionally important undertaking for the future of Côte d’Ivoire.”
Isaac Foly, Chief Executive Officer, Côte d’Ivoire, said: “Not only am I thrilled to be working with Didier Drogba on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank, I am thrilled to be working with him as a fellow Ivorian. Drogba represents the true values and ideals of our great country and has truly been a role model for the young population of Côte d’Ivoire. We look forward to working with Drogba to help increase access to financial services across the country. Throughout his career, he has never forgotten where he came from and always made his fellow Ivorians proud. This, indeed, makes him the perfect partner for this launch.”