Equity Bank has set up a commercial representative office in Ethiopia as it prepares to begin operations in July. This comes after the bank received a licence to start operations in Ethiopia.
Equity Bank’s Chief Executive and Managing Director, Dr James Mwangi (pictured) said the expansion was part of the institution’s efforts to become a Pan African bank with presence in 10 African countries by the end of the year. “Having completed phase one of our expansion, the entry into Ethiopia is part of our phase two expansion in pursuit of our aspiration of being a Pan African Bank,” he said in a statement.
This, Mwangi added, will enable the bank to continue to scale up and unlock economies of scale especially in this era of digitisation and virtualisation of banking. Equity Bank’s entry into Ethiopia, now the fastest growing economy in Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund, follows government’s appointment of a privatisation commission and ongoing reforms which are aimed at promoting a growing private sector.
The entry into Ethiopia follows recent announcement of the bank’s entry into Zambia and Mozambique after striking a preliminary agreement with Atlas Mara Ltd to exchange ordinary shares in the Equity Group for controlling equity stakes in four banks operating in Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique.
With the addition of Ethiopia, the bank will now have operations in a regional market with a combined population of nearly 500 million, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and DRC.
Kenya and Ethiopia have been working together on various projects, with the most notable being the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project, where they have initiated a massive transport and infrastructure plans to link Addis Ababa to the port town of Lamu.