Over the past decade, investors have pushed some of South Africa's major companies to seek expansion outside the country by exploiting the better growth opportunities offered in other parts of the continent. The expansion has come with varying degrees of success and results from Nedbank's investment in West and Central African banking giant, Ecobank Transnational, highlighted some of the difficulties created by a slowdown in sub-Saharan African growth. This week, the World Bank cut sub-Saharan Africa's growth projection because of a slowdown in the region's three biggest economies - Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. With operations in about 40 countries in the region, Ecobank reported a loss after tax of $205-million (R2.7-billion) earlier this week. News of the loss sent shares in Nedbank, which owns a 20% stake in the lender, falling as much as 5.1%. Shares in the country's fourth-biggest lender ended the week 1.6% lower. Woes in its African business have arisen in a year when the...

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