Standard Chartered Bank is offering to open Chinese currency accounts for its clients on account of rising China-Africa trade.
Standard Chartered CEO East Africa, Mr Lamin Manjang, says so far the adoption of RMB by local companies and traders in Africa and the Middle East is gradual, but positive.
“Clients can now open RMB personal and business accounts at Standard Chartered Bank allowing them to send and receive RMB payments,” he said.
The weakening of the shilling has hit small scale local traders who import fast moving goods hard, eroding their margins and making it more difficult to get new stock.
“Importers and exporters who use the Renminbi have the opportunity to mitigate risks and reduce costs associated with the three way foreign exchange from Kenya Shillings to the US dollar then Chinese yuan when trading with China,” Mr Manjang said.
According to CBK data China makes up 20 per cent of Kenya’s imports.
Last year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) added Renminbi (RMB) to its ‘Special Drawing Rights’ basket.
Consequently, the 188 IMF member states and their central banks now have the benefit of choice and diversity in hedging currency risk and increasing investment opportunities in Renminbi.
The first RMB clearing centre was opened in the Middle East last year, while a similar one is expected to be opened in Africa.
This comes at a time when local businessmen are facing huge currency losses as the dollar strengthens against the shilling.