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AFRICA IS DEFINITELY on the radar screen of corporate activity, and with Barclays investing [pounds sterling]2.9bn in ABSA, South Africa's largest retail bank, it sends a strong message of foreign investment confidence not only in South Africa but the African continent as a whole. UK Minister for Africa Peter Hain said: "South Africa is poised on the edge of greatness ... it is a great place to do business because of its political stability; the country has a modern economic policy is in tune with global imperatives".
This Barclays deal is symbolic, It represented 50 per cent of foreign direct investment into South Africa for 2005 and the biggest FDI inflow South Africa has ever experienced. For Barclays it is the largest investment ever made outside of the United Kingdom. Barclays wants to be one of the top five banks in the world. South Africa has had 11 years of democracy and Barclays re-entered the country in 1996.