Ethiopia plans to open banking sector to foreign investors

ADDIS ABABA – The Ethiopian government has moved to open up the country’s banking sector to foreign investors, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Saturday, the latest move aimed at attracting foreign investment.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, which came to power in 2018, has worked to open up various economic sectors, including the telecommunications industry, to help boost foreign investment flows and support overall economic growth. .

In a Facebook post, the prime minister’s office said opening the banks to foreign investors would “transform our country’s economy by stimulating it to have a better connection with the international market”.

The cabinet approved the policy and adopted a draft resolution during a meeting, state-affiliated news agency Fana said in a tweet.

Last year, Abiy’s government granted a license to a private telecom operator to break state-owned Ethio Telecom’s monopoly in one of the economy’s most lucrative sectors.

Kenya’s Safaricom, along with South Africa’s Vodacom, UK’s Vodafone and Japan’s Sumitomo, paid $850 million for the license.

Foreign investors have long eyed key sectors such as banking, telecommunications, transport, aviation and others in Ethiopia, a country of over 100 million people and one of the largest economies in sub-Saharan Africa. .

Abiy’s office said in its message that bringing private players into the sector would lead to competition, improve foreign exchange inflows and create jobs.

(Reporting by Nairobi Newsroom, Writing by Elias Biryabarema, Editing by Jason Neely and Helen Popper)