File photo taken on June 22, 2017 shows Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, June 21,2017. (Xinhua/John Okoyo)
NAIROBI, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a regional financial institution, plans to open a representative office in China in order to lower cost of Sino-Africa trade, officials said Wednesday.
Lawrence Kimathi, KCB Group chief finance officer told Xinhua in Nairobi they are currently in discussions with Chinese government officials and the office should be in place by June.
"We hope to use the office to lower cost of transaction between the Chinese and East African business community by enabling payment for imports and exports in local currencies," Kimathi said when KCB Group released financial results for the full year 2018.
KCB Group has presence in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.
The regional bank also plans to introduce Chinese yuan in all its countries of operations by the end of the year. Kimathi noted that increasing Sino-Africa trade has created demand for Chinese currency.
He added that the availability of the Chinese yuan, or renminbi, will remove the need for Chinese and East Africa businesses to trade in goods and services using foreign currency such as the U.S. dollar.
"The overall objective of having Chinese yuan locally is to reduce the cost of transaction between East Africans and the Chinese business community," he said.
According to the KCB Group financial results for 2018, the institution recorded a net profit of 24 billion shillings (240 million U.S. dollars), which is a 22 percent increase from the results posted in 2017.
On the balance sheet position, the regional bank maintained its market leadership status as the biggest financial institution in East Africa as its assets surged 10 percent to 7.14 billion dollars.