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PEOPLE - Jacko’s Jackpot

With China pouring record investment amounts into Africa, Jacko Maree, chief executive of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group, cut one sweet deal in late October.

The career Standard Bank em­ploy­ee, who has run South Africa’s biggest financial institution since 1999, announced that the world’s biggest bank by market capitalization, Beijing-based Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, would buy 20 percent of his group for $5.46 billion. Analysts estimate that within three years the deal will add $200 million annually to Standard’s bottom line — roughly 10 percent of 2007 net profits — as  Chinese clients use everything from payroll services to investment banking in the 18 African countries where Standard operates. “This solves the question of how we can keep growing by positioning us slap-bang in the middle of the China-Africa axis,” says Maree, 51. “ICBC knows that our network has scarcity value.”