Equity Group has set up a commercial representative office in Ethiopia following the grant of license to commence operations.
The new office is anchored on the lender’s continental drive which seeks to transform the group into a continental bank.
“Having completed phase one of our expansion, the entry into Ethiopia makes up part of our phase two expansion in pursuit of our aspiration of being a Pan-African Bank with presence in 10 African countries by the end of the year.
This will enable the Bank to continue to scale up and unlock economies of scale especially in this era of digitization and virtualization of banking.” said Equity Group’s Managing Director James Mwangi.
Equity’s new representative office is the second by a Kenyan based firm and follows the establishment of a similar facility by its long-standing rival KCB in 2016.
While Ethiopia interests by Kenyan firms goes back to decades, entities are now only planning for investments now following the relaxation of market entry rules under a new revolutionary government in the north.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has for instance through a wave of reforms put up measures to open up the domestic economy removing it from the historical state control.
The easing of restrictions on the licensing of financial services has for example established rivigoured interest in the continental’s second-most populous nation estimated at 100 million.
In addition to Equity and KCB, other Kenyan based enterprises with interests in the north include Standard Bank Group, the Cooperative Bank and Safaricom.
The telco operator has already setup the foundation for Ethiopia’s market entry laying a 260 kilometers fiber-optic cable connecting the town of Marsabit and the Moyale border post.
The fruition of cross-border businesses in Kenya, Ethiopia has further received a shot in the arm from renewed engagements between the two governments.
The pair of States have for instance initiated a number of considerable infrastructure investments under the Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).
Equity group which is to soon commence operations in the North has further made investments in the south under a Ksh.10 billion deal which will see the lender scoop up for banks in Rwanda, Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
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