Nigeria dominates our table of the Top 30 West African banks more completely than the far larger South African banking sector is able to dominate its equivalent survey.
Incredibly, the first 19 places in the regional table are filled by Nigerian institutions, with the rest of West Africa apparently left to pick up the crumbs. Yet these results are a sign both of Nigeria's strength and its weakness. It may possess the largest banking sector in the region and the largest financial institutions, but such a large number of banks, in what is still a fairly limited economy, is certainly a sign of weakness.
Thankfully, the Nigerian government has already implemented a deep-seated banking reform programme and there has been a major programme of mergers and acquisitions over the past year or so.
Once the bank results for the current financial year have been filed, our table should have a very different composition in 2007. There will almost certainly be fewer Nigerian banks than at present, but the gap between …