Pan-African Ecobank Opens First Branch In Ethiopia

Pan-African Ecobank Opens First Branch In Ethiopia

Ecobank Transnational, which has been expanding rapidly across Africa, opened its first branch in Ethiopia and extended its African network to 35 countries, according to IndependentOnline.

Banking in Africa’s second most-populous economy is state dominated, but with economic growth at 9 percent, the East African nation could soon open up the industry to new entrants, Reuters reports.

The new branch will give the lender a head start in marketing its pan-African services to overseas businesses and other banks in the region before possible banking deregulation, said Ecobank CEO Thierry Tanoh.

“Ethiopia has emerged as one of Africa’s most exciting new markets and is forecast to be the world’s third-fastest-growing economy between 2011 and 2015, behind only China and India,” Tanoh said, adding that Ecobank aims to profit from increasing trade across different African nations as the continent steps up its development and infrastructure.

Pan-African trade grew to 12 percent of total trade on the continent in 2012, up from less than 10 percent five years ago.

Shares in the bank slipped 1.36 percent to 13.85 naira Friday, but the stock gained 24 percent since the start of the year, the report said.

Ecobank said it obtained the licence for a representative office in July and that the new operations will start with an initial staff of three.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with 160 million people – Ethiopia has 80 million -contributes more than 40 percent of Ecobank’s group revenue, the report said.