The licensing process of Banco Sino-Atlântico (BSA), in Cabo Verde, by Macao businessman David Chow is underway at the Bank of Cabo Verde (BCV), the banking sector regulator, which has already received all the documents required. The BCV will now determine whether the BSA meets the legal requirements, the suitability of the Macao businessman and the origin of the bank’s starting capital.
The creation of a Cape Verdean bank with Chinese capital is viewed negatively by the Portuguese-owned banks, which dominate the sector, namely Caixa Geral de Depósitos – which controls the market leader Banco Comercial do Atlântico, as Banco Interatlântico.
Cabo Verde’s second-largest bank, Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde, has Geocapital as its second-largest shareholder, a Chinese-owned holding company with interests in the financial sectors of Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. The bank’s largest shareholder is the Cape Verdean state.
David Chow intends to open a casino within the hotel complex he is building at Ilhéu de Santa Maria in Praia, an investment valued at US$250 million. African Monitor Intelligence says that the BSA may have the complex as a client in the future.
It is likely that David Chow’s new Banco Sino-Atlântico will provide the banking facilities and services that the casino-hotel complex will need.
In May 2017, the Cape Verdean government signed a memorandum of understanding with Chow’s Legend Globe Investment Company Ltd to create the BSA. The bank plans to attract Chinese capital to operate in West Africa, one of the strategic objectives of the Cape Verdean government.
The headquarters and head office of the BSA will be in the 14-story building that is part of the complex that Chow is building on the island, which is now scheduled to open in late 2019. The same building, which is already at an advanced stage of construction, will also house a convention centre, online casinos, and offices.
Soon after the completion of the building, work will begin on the construction of the hotel-casino, over the water, between the islet and Gamboa. It has been designed with 150 rooms, as well as the gaming areas, with tables and slot machines and a VIP room for “special” players.
Cabo Verde granted Chow’s company a 25-year gaming concession for the island of Santiago, with 15 years of exclusivity.