Tanzania’s banks expanding and seeking to recruit

News Release

Tanzania’s banks expanding and seeking to recruit

10 June 2011

The International Monetary Fund has just upgraded its forecasts of growth in Tanzania’s economy, the second largest in East Africa, to 7.2% for 2012, up from 6% this year, while Standard Bank’s analysts are more optimistic and calculate GDP will rise by 7.6%.

East Africa’s second-biggest economy after Kenya still depends mainly on mining, tourism and agriculture but it is attracting considerable investor interest, especially in telecommunications, energy and financial services, while the banking sector is increasingly active and competitive.

Fast-growing banks desperately need talent. Like National Microfinance Bank (NMB), the largest bank in Tanzania by customer base and branch network, which was privatised in 2005 and listed in 2008 on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. The biggest shareholder is Holland’s Rabobank Group with a 34.9% stake. “Post privatisation instead of closing branches we started growing our branch network and now we have 140, more than twice the number of any other bank,” says Mark Wiessing, Ceo of NMB. “Our customer base has jumped from 600,000 to 1.4m in the past few years and today we are the largest ATM issuer in Tanzania with over 1.1m active cards.”

Kees Verbeek, chief commercial officer, says that “we are building an outward-looking, client-oriented bank and we need bright people, young enough to be energetic and enthusiastic, but ideally with at least three or four years’ experience working abroad. We need people in sales and operations as well as team and project management.”

Another bank seeking to expand is Exim Bank, founded in 1997, which has been growing fast and is now trying to establish itself as a regional player with a presence in the Comores and Djibouti.

“We are now waiting for approval from the Zambian authorities to establish a presence there as well,” says Dinesh Arora, general manager “We are the fastest-growing bank in Tanzania and have been the most innovative: we were the first to introduce credit cards, mobile ATMs and special financing schemes for women. Now we want to keep growing but we need people.”

Mr Arora is hoping to attract the Tanzanian diaspora: “We are keen to recruit people who have worked in the City, who come fully groomed and trained and with a high level of understanding. We offer exciting career prospects and a good quality of life. In Tanzania, the positives outweigh the negatives.” The bank, he says, needs 20 people in different areas, from risk management to operations and sales.

Both Verbeek and Arora have extended their search for talent to London through the Global Career Company network, hoping to attract some of the many expatriates working in the City. Strict visa regulations, they say, make it difficult to hire people who are not Tanzanian nationals.