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China’s first overseas commercial bank for Africa is going to be opened in partnership with the government of Djibouti.

An agreement for the first overseas commercial bank established under China’s Belt and Road Initiative was signed in Djibouti on November 16.

With the acceleration of Chinese enterprises’ “Going out”, the financial industry is becoming a powerful support for increasing Belt and Road construction. Under the guidance of the Belt and Road construction frame, the first commercial bank set abroad by China Silk Road International Bank will be set up in Djibouti.

The Silk Road International Bank was jointly initiated and set up by China-invested enterprises such as the IZP Group, China Merchants Group and Silk Road E-merchants Information Technology Co., Ltd. with the Ministry of Finance of Djibouti.

The Silk Road International Bank (SRIB) cooperative agreement was signed by Djibouti’s Finance Minister and representatives from Chinese trading and data firm IZP Group and state-owned China Merchants Group, and follows the venture’s first agreement in Beijing in July. The agreement was the first to confirm the distribution of equity within the bank, the first African bank, a Chinese enterprise has acquired a license for.

Equity, of which 70 percent has been made public, sees Djibouti’s Finance Ministry and IZP Group take 25 percent respectively, while Silk Road e-merchants – a joint-venture between China Merchants Group and IZP – will assume 20 percent control.

Finance Minister of Djibouti, Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, is the Board of Directors of SRIB, according to reports.

SRIB will provide favourable financial products and services to Djibouti and overseas enterprises, especially those in China.

There is a plan to make the bank the largest card issuing bank in East Africa in five years.

The Belt and Road initiative is a development strategy introduced by Chinese President Xi Jinping that focuses on connectivity and cooperation among countries between China and Eurasia.

Djibouti is considered the key point for Belt and Road Initiative to construct the sea passage in the western front of China besides its strategic area connecting the Asia, Europe and Africa markets

It is the 13th local commercial bank set up at the approval of the Djibouti Central Bank.

Among which, IZP Group is the major initiator and occupies 25 percent of the shares, so does the Ministry of Finance of Djibouti.

The Chinese bank in Djibouti is the first full-license commercial bank in Africa.

Apart from the Silk Road International Bank in Djibouti, setting up a new silk road bank in Togo.

Presently, IZP Group has obtained the interbank clearing license in more than 40 countries of Europe, Central Asia, Africa, South Asia, Middle East, North Africa, etc. It is expected that it will enter into more than 120 overseas countries and regions in the next three years. The establishment of the Djibouti Silk Road International Bank is an important link of its global layout and will be the bridgehead for it to develop business in Africa.

About four years ago the state owned China Merchant Group bought a 23 percent share in the Port of Djibouti. Since the company joined the logistic market in Djibouti, several port expansions have begun in the country.

In the current year the first phase of Doraleh Multipurpose Port, the giant port ever will be inaugurated. Chinese investment stake has become the major source for the economic growth in the country.

The state giant Commercial Bank of Ethiopia is expected to reopened in Djibouti as its strategy to expand abroad.