JP Morgan, America’s and the world’s largest bank by market capitalization which is headquartered in New York, now has a regional office in Nairobi, Kenya.
This move further underscores the African ambitions of the American banking giant as it is now present in Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, and now Kenya—the big four as they are colloquially called due to their highly developed tech ecosystems. JP Morgan’s history in Nigeria and Egypt dates back to 1960 and 1979 respectively, while the bank recently debuted in South Africa.
The bank will oversee its East African businesses and operations from its new Nairobi regional office. According to a 2018 interview with the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon reposted on Kenyan Wall Street, this move was a five-year process due to regulatory issues. In that interview, Dimon stated that the bank had hired a special team of bankers to help coordinate and expand the bank’s relationships in Africa, especially in Kenya and Ghana.
Dimon had expressed the bank’s interest in expanding its services and targeting large multinationals that are not well-served by local investment banking firms due to a lack of expertise in handling large transactions.
William Ruto, Kenya’s President, was reported to have hailed the development as a “vote for Kenya’s emerging success in the global marketplace.” Ruto is also reported to have met with the bank’s vice-chairman and global head of the public sector group, Daniel Zelikow, and they discussed the need for development financing to be responsive to climate change.
JP Morgan, present in 100 countries around the world and a London EMEA headquarter, has expressed its commitment to help drive sustainable economic growth in the region. Judging by the development work the bank has done on the continent, its entry into East Africa is expected to create job opportunities, help build sustainable local businesses, and attract more foreign investment to the country.