Our corporate social responsibility is at the heart of our growth model and business strategy. We are committed to making our actions more transparent and relevant to our stakeholders.

The Orabank Group has a strategic vision of its development and financial stability over the medium and long term. Our growth cannot be based on a short-term gain vision, which would undermine our common future and our responsibility towards our society and the environment.

Oragroup CEO

“In a context of profound change, the Orabank Group continues to ensure that it meets the best international standards in management, especially in the area of governance. In this respect, we recognize the primacy of the risk management framework.”

Cheikh Tidiane N’DIAYE
Deputy Managing Director, Orabank Group

In the current shareholding transition of our Group, we are daily driven by the desire to strengthen the Orabank Group’s sustainable purpose. In the context of a highly volatile international situation, we continue to rely on our robust business model and the commitment of our staff to differentiate us as a responsible player in Africa for the long term.

Mamoudou KANE
Oragroup Deputy Managing Director


Oragroup CEO

How does the Orabank Group express its sustainable commitments through its banking mission?

In Africa and in our countries of operation, poverty is the ultimate systemic risk. The years that have passed reinforce this belief. Our efforts to protect the environment are hampered by the extreme poverty of certain populations. Each of our actions must make it possible to reduce this scourge, to participate in the development of the African continent. Therefore, Orabank Group’s CSR strategy builds on this societal approach.

We have set a priority objective of economic support for SMEs that represent 90% of enterprises, according to the World Bank and other multilateral lenders. Their dynamism is remarkable in terms of job creation. The employability of young people is also a real challenge on the African continent and in our markets. The age structure of our continent shows a large young age group that will have to enter the labor market in the next decade. And the real challenge in our countries is to be able to offer them jobs outside the informal economy.

We understand that informal jobs are a social shock absorber but can pose a real threat to the environment and human rights. For instance, jobs held by children as street vendors are becoming more widespread without considering the challenges of sustainable development. These small urban jobs have a detrimental effect on the use of low-recyclable plastic packaging. A strategy to better integrate the informal sector is essential. It is then a question of directing capital towards SMEs. For years, the Orabank Group has set up itself as a major support for African SMEs and very small entrepreneurs. It is in this context that our Group delivers on its commitment on a daily basis: our support for MSME’s reached 22% of the total loans and we plan to increase this each year.

In the long term, the growth potential of our markets remains high. Public economic policies will need to find ways to finance growth that maintain sustainable debt levels. Greater mobilization of domestic savings, locally invested capital, and expansion of intra- African trade appear to be credible paths. Our goal of maintaining high levels of customer service remains a priority. We continue to explore opportunities to enter carefully selected markets with good growth prospects. Despite a challenging environment, our teams continue their efforts to achieve a satisfactory outcome for our shareholders in strict cost discipline and rigorous risk management.

The Board of Directors thanks its members for their guidance and support, and all employees for their collective efforts to achieve these great advances that will make it possible to develop our forward-looking Banking Group in a sustainable manner.

How do you prepare the resilience of the Orabank Group?

Our resilience plan is based on three aspects: the resistance of markets, our continued ability to adapt, and digital banking. Our markets have the resources to bounce back. The study of the informal sector confirms the sector’s underlying timeliness, and pockets of growth and resilience that remain hidden.

Orabank Group has a strategic vision for its medium- and long-term development and financial stability. Since the integration of CSR issues into the Group’s strategy, the Group was among the first commercial banks to address this issue.

Since 2011, with the implementation of the SYMRES tool (Environmental and Social Risk Management System), a response has been provided following friendly pressure from our investors seeking better prevention of ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) risks.

We reorient our activities towards actions with measurable impact to better take account of certain priority issues such as the financing of agriculture and renewable energy. Indeed, rural, and peri-urban issues are directly associated with poverty and populations out of the banking system. We must therefore promote financial inclusion by offering products that meet the expectations of such customers. On the bedrock of accelerating urbanization on the continent, these financial inclusion challenges are vital to Africa’s development.

How will the Group strengthen financial inclusion?

In 2016, a CSR benchmark conducted within a materiality process was an opportunity to establish on how financial inclusion helps reduce poverty in Africa and the confirmed strategic lead taken by the Group. By considering the history of Orabank’s societal actions and the integration of ESG issues into the Group’s processes, the Orabank Group positions intend to maintain its pioneer position.

The Group was indeed one of the first commercial banks in our region to address these issues related to sustainable finance, in a context that is sometimes difficult for markets to understand the issues. The Orabank Group is committed to making sure that people in Africa are banked for social inclusion. The Orabank Group wishes to take an important position in the banking and financing of economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Since large populations are still far from our services, the Orabank Group must promote economic and financial integration, thanks to new technologies that are firmly rooted in usage.

The deployment of the digitization strategy allows us to reach a broader target while diversifying our revenue sources. In the sub-Saharan region, we can expect a significant boom in mobile financialization. We are positioning ourselves in this new customer segment with more adapted products. Orabank’s strategic ambition is to build a profitable, efficient group that serves a clientele for which it seeks innovative solutions, including those with lower incomes, and where it is good to work. Through our funding, we want to do more to help create local wealth and jobs.

In 2022, the African Guarantee Fund (AGF) Group, through its subsidiary AGF West Africa, and the Orabank Group concluded a portfolio guarantee agreement totaling CFAF 60 billion (USD 100 million), aimed at increasing the intervention capacity of the Orabank Group for SMEs through its subsidiaries in West Africa. Strengthening the partnership between the two institutions will enable the Orabank Group to play a major role in the development of the economies in which it operates, by providing a solution to the thorny problem of access to finance for SMEs. The partnership is supported by the AfDB’s Africa Women’s Finance Initiative (AFAWA) and will thus increase financing for women’s entrepreneurship in the region. The guarantee will also cover SMEs eligible for green financing.

As a reminder, half of our banks have their roots in Regional Bank of Solidarity, created by BCEAO to support low-income populations and financial inclusion. The bank’s traditional organization is not prepared to process very small volume transactions profitably. However, digitalization targets large populations while allowing small transactions to be processed.

The Orabank Group is committed to signing new partnerships that strengthen financial inclusion. In 2022, Oragroup, Holding of the Orabank Group and Orabank Senegal as co-arranger, with a banking pool also made up of the CBAO Group Attijariwafa bank, Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l’Industrie du Senegal (BICIS) and Société Générale Senegal (SGBS), mobilized a medium-term syndicated credit of 25 billion CFA francs in favor of the Company, SAGA AFRICA HOLDINGS LIMITED SA, a telecommunication company operating the Free brand in Senegal. This loan will enable FREE to refinance its debt and to carry out its ambitious investment program, the main objectives of which are the continued modernization of the 4G+ network, the deployment of the very high-speed fixed Internet offer to individual and corporate customers, and the expansion of its presence in the Mobile Money or FREE MONEY business, which has significant growth potential.

In the face of the climate emergency, what is the vision of the Orabank Group?

Our countries are affected by extreme weather events causing an exodus from rural areas because of the water stress. But while Africa presents significant challenges today, the continent could offer huge opportunities to combat climate change. The bank contributes to help finance climate reduction and adaptation actions. In particular, the Orabank Group sees an opportunity to take a leadership role by sustaining financing for green growth and renewable solar energy in Africa.

We have already successfully deployed the credit lines made available by international donors, but we want to be more initiative-taking in developing products to promote these technologies in our markets. Consequently, some agreements with major industrialists are being concluded with the aim of increasing photovoltaic ability and to actively contribute to the needed response to the climate emergency.

Electricity generation and distribution is one of our major concerns and off-grid solutions are very expensive to deploy. Solar energy power could enable the rapid deployment of autonomous energy production solutions. Our countries also have primary forests that turn out to be carbon sinks with a large CO₂ storage capacity.

All these opportunities need to be turned into concrete action plans.

What is the outlook for 2023?

According to the latest World Bank research published in January 2023*, global efforts to tackle inflation, the Russian-led war in Ukraine, will continue to weigh on global economic activity in 2023. And 2023 will be another year of challenges given these uncertainties and the political crises in Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

The target of an operating ratio below 60% in 2022 has not been achieved and efficiency still is a priority in 2023. We will continue to focus on portfolio quality, in particular collection, enhanced portfolio oversight, and weighted net asset optimization to minimize capital requirements.

The best allocation of the capital needed to support the growth and profitability of the Group’s activities remain a priority. Capital increases are therefore supplied through subordinated debt operations for the Holding Company and its subsidiaries, as well as through the strengthening of core capital.

Finally, we pay a particular attention to the recovery of the entities in turnaround: Chad, Mauritania, and Mali.

As a reminder, the six main axes of our new strategic plan 2021–2025, with the vision of building a leading banking group that takes part in financing the sustainable development of an emerging Africa, are summarized below:

  • Axis 1: Strengthen customer focus for more sustainable and quality revenue growth
  • Axis 2: Control the management of our risks and the quality of our portfolios
  • Axis 3: Accelerate deployment of digital offering and transformation
  • Axis 4: Strengthen group coordination, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness
  • Axis 5: Develop and keeping human capital
  • Axis 6: Strengthen financial soundness.

Mamoudou KANE

Oragroup Deputy Managing Director

What were the highlights of 2022 that affected the Orabank Group?

Two developments were significant for the bank and for our countries. First, the Russian-Ukrainian crisis with its economic implications, causing a great deal of tension on prices, supplies to countries, strong pressure on our countries’ budgets with the ensuing inflation and reinforced by the evolution of rising interest rates. Today, in the countries in which we operate, governments and fiscal players have great difficulty in gaining access to both local and international financial markets.

The second fact concerns the Orabank Group more directly, namely the proposed transfer of the Oragroup majority shareholding. This process has a significant impact on the bank’s interactions with correspondents and lenders.

The first consequence of this shareholding evolution affects our employees who have legitimate questions about the bank’s future. Communication is naturally a key tool to remind our staff our banking context. Our Group is a regulated activity, and the control cannot be transferred without the consent of the regulatory authorities.

The second aspect relates to our interactions with our customers and our partners, in particular the bank correspondents, because of the strict constraints in terms of banking activities (KYC, change of control, anti-money laundering rules…). The quicker we finalize the negotiations, the better for our clients, particularly the most conservative ones. A long-term commitment in a transition situation is sometimes not sustainable.

What is the outlook for 2023?

The bank continues to have a high growth rate but has some concerns about future barriers to development in cross-border trade for international trade operations. Our economies import a lot, from basic commodities to hydrocarbons, fossil fuels and industrial equipment. We expect a small strain on the availability and increase of our lines at correspondents. Our growth requires equity. There are challenges in some countries, in terms of ongoing financial performance and the market is very competitive. We continue to compare ourselves to our peers and make the necessary policy corrections. Our Net banking Income and Operating Result are good, and we must improve some ratios such as the cost of risk, the recovery, and the overhead ratios.

What are the significant risks in the short and longer term?

Today, our situation is being affected by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and the increase in the interest rates of the FED and the US central bank. We have two large currency areas, the UMOA area, which brings together eight countries, and a second currency area in Central Africa, which brings together Gabon and Cameroon in particular. These two large currency areas in our perimeter share the CFA franc, which is linked to the euro.

So, any action by the American or European central bank necessarily has an impact on monetary policy in our countries of presence, and interest rates are rising in the United States and in Europe. They are rising mechanically in our zone and the consequence of these increases is that our states are in a very precarious economic situation.

In all our countries of presence, the states are the main counterparties for many local and international business players and today, a great deal of tension is felt, with much delay in financial transactions. Countries are now in very serious trouble because they have had to subsidize the essential goods, the price of fuel and the price of electricity, to avoid a social explosion. However, the tax base is not sufficient to support these expenditures. The greatest risk is that governments become insolvent, with potentially disastrous consequences.

While the United States is at risk of debt default because of political strife, France and some European countries have high debt levels as well. The risks of international state bankruptcy directly affect our countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Benin, and Gabon, which have many foreign currency loans. To gain access to these markets, countries that used to borrow at 4%, 5%, or 6% now risk committing to an unacceptably high 10-12% rate.

How do you manage the social divide global risk mentioned on the WEF report**?

Even if it is becoming more important on a global basis, the social divide risk is not new in our African countries, and the question is about to reduce the population explosion of the most vulnerable populations. Our states have always believed that the emergency is about infrastructure, not necessarily about raising living standards for people in need. The situation is that day-to-day living conditions for families have become impossible and social tension is at its peak.

 Considering the payment delays from states, we feel the first signs of slowing down and difficulties with repayment. We must provision all receivables that are over 90 days in arrears. The West African Central Bank has increased its refinancing rates, and this has an impact on our customers. Credit output could trend downward, leaving aside difficulties of access to finance and capital increases. This could significantly slow down the development of structured finance projects affecting all operators and some important infrastructure projects could be delayed. The slowdown in activity, the increase in interest rates, the deterioration in the quality of loans, and the reduction in outstanding loans will therefore lead to more conservative credit conditions.

What are the other risks and challenges?

In recent years, there has been an attempt, under the leadership of the West Africa Banking Commission, to bring all banking regulations in all geographies into alignment with American or French practices, which are radically different. This will have prudential regulatory consequences and will reinforce our daily difficulties, having an impact on the financing of projects in the sub-region.

Moreover, climate risk tends to put more pressure on the banking sector and one of our objectives as a responsible bank is to address those issues with as much transparency as possible. Now we set an exclusion for fossil fuels such as coal for our energy production projects, choosing alternative sources like solar or wind, and in a lower degree to gas.

What are the opportunities of progress?

The Orabank Group positions in favor of responsible finance. We are a bit ahead of the market in this regard and Orabank hopes to attract specific funding to enable us to make progress in this area.

In 2022, we signed the charter of the Principles of Responsible Banking, we plan to join the Green Fund initiative in Central Africa. The main challenge lies in our ability to steer these important opportunities and measure their impact on our customers and in our countries. We cannot limit our commitment to signing on to principles or belonging to initiatives, we must be able to prove our ESG progress and performance. Massive investments are needed in monitoring, measurement, and control systems for responsible finance, as well as employees. training.

In the current context of a carbon-neutral trajectory in Europe or internationally, we need to focus on energy production, which accounts for 60% of our global emissions. The African continent can supply workable solutions for renewable energy production and reduce the need for hydrocarbons imported from abroad. Banking players seize opportunities in green energy production that have increased operators from northern countries.

The Orabank Group must take a long-term perspective in partnership with its customers, partners, and employees. We need to reassure our stakeholders, but also keep our long-term strategic execution, supported by added communication and training.

How do you see the involvement of Orabankers in your CSR strategy?

I am proud to be an Orabanker, in a group that has been involved in CSR for several years.

We will continue to raise awareness and encourage our employees to be our ambassadors by supporting our CSR projects, such as reducing deforestation, gas bottling projects, preserving water resources, or in sanitation or sanitation work. Each employee must be able to talk about how we make a difference as a responsible and committed actor in Africa.