French banking group Societe Generale (SG) has secured the authorisation from the Kenyan central bank to open a representative office in the country.

Foreign banks’ representative offices are barred from carrying out banking operations in Kenya and are allowed to act as marketing and liaison offices for their foreign parent banks.

The approval marks the French lender’s foray into Eastern Africa, which until now had operations across18 countries in North, West, Central and South Africa.

“Kenya is SG’s first entry into Eastern Africa. The Representative Office will support the growing trade and investment links between Kenya and France. It will also allow deepening of SG’s regional footprint with Kenya as its anchor in Eastern Africa,” the Central Bank of Kenya said in a statement.

Overall, SG has operations across 66 countries in Europe, North and South America, Middle East, Africa and Asia. It focuses on French Retail Banking, International Retail Banking and Financial Services, as well as Global Banking and Investor Solutions.