Standard Chartered Bank has taken a key interest in Ethiopia’s Banking Industry which is tightly closed off to foreign investment and dominated by state-owned banks.
While speaking to Bloomberg, StanChart CEO Bill Winters said, “It would be nice if we could get in and take a look and see if we would add some value.”
Mr. Winters was accompanying UK Prime Minister Theresa May in her 3 nation state visit in Africa.
Ethiopia’s economy grew by 10.9% in 2017 mainly driven by expansion in agriculture, construction and manufacturing sectors.
Since taking office in April, Ethiopia’s reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced plans to liberalize the economy by privatizing fully or partially state enterprises such as aviation, energy, telecommunication and manufacturing.
Under the plan foreign and domestic investors will be able to buy minority stakes in sectors that were previously deemed off limits to private enterprise.
Kenyan Banks Eyeing Ethiopia
A number of local banks are said to be preparing to make a foray into the Ethiopian market;
KCB Bank had in July announced that it getting ready to enter into the Ethiopian market through a partnership with an Ethiopian Bank or setting up a subsidiary in the country.
Additionally, Reuters had reported that Safaricom was considering a partnership with state owned Ethio-Telcom to roll out M-pesa services.
Equity Bank recently announced its plans to expand into the country however maintaining a wait and see standstill all policies and measures to promote operations are put in place by the government.