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By Shapi Shacinda


LUSAKA, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Nigeria’s Access Bank ACCE.LG plans to spend $200 million to expand in Africa and is expected to list its Zambia subsidiary on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, senior bank officials said on Wednesday.


Access Group’s deputy managing director Herbert Wigwe said the bank planned expansions in Botswana, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania before the end of next year.


“We went to the markets and raised some money which we will use for expansions in Africa. Our budget for the expansions is $200 million,” Wigwe told journalists ahead of the official launch of the Access Bank in Zambia on Wednesday.


Access Bank Zambia’s managing director David Chewe told Reuters that the bank intended to list on the Lusaka Stock Exchange by 2012 and that it would open six branches this year and 10 more in 2009.


Access, one of Nigeria’s fastest-growing banks, has already spent $10 million on setting up in Zambia, and aims to spend another $26 million on new branches, Chewe said.


Access Bank Plc is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with a market capitalisation of $3 billion. Total Assets as at March 2008 were $8.9 billion with shareholders’ funds at $1.6 billion.


Nigerian banks have seen rapid growth in the last three years after a financial sector reform in 2005 that cut the number of institutions to 25 from 89.


Access announced in May it had acquired a majority stake in three foreign banks — Banque Privee du Congo, Rwanda’s Bancor Bank and Omnifinance of Ivory Coast — in a bid to become a bigger regional player.


Access Bank owns 75 shares in its Zambian unit while 25 percent was awarded to Zambians.


Chewe said Access Bank would not limit lending to major market players in the mineral-rich southern African country.


The bank has long-term plans to finance major telecommunications projects and provide financing for Zambia’s oil imports, he said. (Reporting By Shapi Shacinda; Editing by Greg Mahlich)