After a five-year stint as Barclays Africa, South Africa's third-largest bank by market capitalisation will again see its brand refashioned. For South Africans the change will see Absa, once the country's largest retail bank, restored. But in countries such as Ghana, Kenya and Mauritius, the re-brand draws to a close the almost century-old association with the British bank Barclays. It's an undertaking that will not be risk-free. "The business will need to embark on a possibly costly marketing spree to promote the Absa brand outside of South Africa, especially in countries in the rest of Africa where the bank has a presence but the Absa name is not well known," said Rahima Cassim, fund manager at Ashburton Investments. But using the original name was still probably a better bet than bringing something entirely foreign to South Africa, where 80% of the banking group's business lies, after almost 30 years. Amalgamated Banks of South Africa was established in 1991 when United Bank, the...

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