Economy, Business And Markets

CBI Calls for Normal Banking Ties to Africa

CBI Calls for Normal  Banking Ties to Africa
CBI Calls for Normal  Banking Ties to Africa

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Sunday called on South African lenders to open accounts with the CBI saying the CBI considers that country a key player in the African continent.

“We believe South Africa can serve as a hub enabling us to start banking relations with African nations,” Seif said.

Establishing banking relations between Iran and South Africa and providing loans to firms in the two countries would help boost two-way economic ties, he was quoted as saying in a meeting with South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in Tehran.

“We used to have close banking relations with South African lenders but the sanctions disrupted the process. Now is the time to revamp bilateral banking ties,” the CBI website quoted him as saying.

Pointing to the two countries’ joint companies and investments in the past, Seif referred to MTN as a case in point saying his bank will try to further encourage such investments. He called on Iranian and South African banks to help materialize such investment projects.

 International Ties

Regarding Tehran’s banking ties to the world, the senior banker stated that small and medium-sized international banks have no problem in connecting with Iranian lenders.

“The big banks, however, are hesitant due to the huge (US) financial penalties imposed on them in the past. This has caused a serious slowdown in normalizing banking ties with Iran.”

Seif also pointed to the discussions between Iran and the US regarding European banks’ reluctance to establish ties with Iran, saying the US Secretary of State John Kerry has given assurances to the Europeans in this regard.

 Fairly Good

Seif added a anti-terrorism financing law has been ratified and this is among the steps taken to upgrade the Iranian banking system “In a meeting with US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew, he told me that Iran’s condition is fairly good in curbing terror financing and money-laundering. He, however, emphasized that further steps should be taken in these areas.”

Gordhan, said that Iran is located in the heart of the Middle East and this provides many opportunities for South African banks and businesses. Expressing hope that the two countries’ economic relations would be normalized, he added that he is looking forward to more bilateral investment from companies in the two countries. “Representatives of South Africa’s Banking Association, which serves as the representative body for South African lenders, will travel to Iran to pave the way for establishing direct banking ties with Iran,” he said.

Heading a 180-member politico-economic delegation, South African president Jacob Zuma arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the invitation of President Rouhani to discuss ways to strengthen relations between the two countries.