Austral bank account holders should not be surprised if they find their habitual bank branch or automatic teller machine (ATM) carrying a new name: Barclays-Mozambique. The change is the result of the 2005 takeover by Barclays of the South African group ABSA, which owned 80 per cent of Austral.

Barclays now has 48 bank branches and 71 ATMs in Mozambique and it plans to open ten new branches by the end of this year, including three at shopping centres in the southern cities of Maputo and Matola. Next year the bank plans to expand even further, particularly in the corporate sector.

Founded shortly after independence as the state-owned People

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