Interview with Sebastian Barroso da Fonseca from Access Bank


GNBCC is pleased to share this article on its premium member, Access Bank, based on an interview with Sebastian Barroso da Fonseca, Senior Manager of Access Bank German Desk Sub-Saharan.


Can you tell us about yourself and your journey to becoming Senior Manager of German Desk Sub Saharan Africa for Access Bank?

This journey started in 2018 when I was working for Deutsche Bank in Berlin and after several years of corporate investment banking I wanted to jump unto a new adventure. I was not necessarily planning to move to Nigeria or Africa however I saw it as a nice opportunity. I was raised in a bilingual family with a Portuguese mother and German father. Because I was raised with different cultures, it made me more aware of other countries, languages and cultures. The move to Nigeria was a challenge outside of my comfort zone but that also made me excited for the new challenge. In February 2019 we celebrated the opening of the second German desk by Access Bank during the German-African Business Summit in Accra. My responsibilities from that time had extended from representing Nigeria to also representing Ghana. At the end of 2021 the bank had increased its footprint and made me responsible for the entire Sub Saharan region.

What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?

The decision and courage to step outside of my comfort zone at the time and changing and challenging my patterns in an unknown environment. The desk at the time was also something new so it was like having a startup within a corporate bank. So today I would say that I am proud of setting up this desk and making it successful. Now even other countries are looking at setting up a similar desk for example the Dutch Desk or even European Desk.

What should our members know about Access Bank and Dutch Desk?

Access bank is ambitious and has a strong corporate identity. They always have their vision in front of them which is to become the world’s most respected African bank. Looking at the story of the bank, it’s interesting to know that the owners wrote a book called, Leaving the Tarmac, this book tells the story of how they bought the bank in 2001 and how it performed over time and how it was taking over this business and running it out of nowhere. At first the bank was ranked in top 50 and within a short period of time they have become the number 1 bank in Nigeria and a very important bank in the African continent based on various criteria such as customer base, revenue etc. And as of this year Access Bank has a presence in 14 countries in Africa. They have representative offices in strategic locations such as Dubai, China and London. There is a German and Dutch desk to enable international businesses to easily access local financing. Access Bank does Wholesale banking which means we offer many services from private banking to investment banking to insurance and many others. Access Bank also has an Agri desk which supports businesses in the agricultural sector, and we also have a women in business initiative. The bank likes to participate in social events and has a strong working mentality.


How has your experience with GNBCC been so far and what do you expect for the future?

It has been a very good experience so far. We started to have a closer relationship with GNBCC as we´ve been working on the Dutch desk. We have noticed more involvement from the Dutch community and more customer referrals. GNBCC is key for the success of many Dutch businesses. We have had changing working environments due to covid and new ways  of working and the chamber is in a position to advice corporates in this new environment. The chamber gets to be in between businesses and well-connected with government. I believe the chamber plays an important role in the changing environment and can take members along on the journey.




GNBCC | News