By Irene Gaitirira
Published October 29, 2015
A South African bank with footprints across 20 African countries, has opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Standard Bank, Africaâ€™s largest bank by assets, is seeking a piece of the pie of Ethiopia’s growing economy that is estimated to be the largest in the region.The bank is already operating in Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Ben Kruger, Standard Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, while opening the Ethiopian branch, said, â€œAs a bank rooted in Africa, our vision is to build a leading financial institution that delivers superior products and services for all our customers. We are able to leverage our strong position on the continent, our strategic partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and our sector expertise in natural resources, to facilitate capital investment in support of growth and to connect African markets to each other.â€
The bank in Addis is expected to act as an entry point for clients seeking to invest in Ethiopia whose economic growth is underpinned by high public investment and a growing consumer base.
With a population of around 90 million and an annual GDP growth averaging 10% over the past five years, Ethiopia has a great economic potential.
“Heavy public investment in agriculture, energy and transport are likely to continue to support growth in the medium term as the government ramps up its productive sector,” Standard Bank says in a Press Statement it issued through African Press Organisation. “The energy sector is also set to boom with power projects at various stages of development. With Ethiopia emerging as a major power hub in the region, energy exports will likely become a major foreign exchange earner in the near future. Industry and manufacturing, a top priority for Ethiopia, are likely to start making a more significant contribution in the countryâ€™s GDP going forward which will largely be facilitated by the increase electricity supply.”
Kruger said these were some of the reasons that informed his bank’s decision to get into Ethiopia.
â€œEstablishing a presence in Ethiopia is in recognition of the increasing interest by investors and our clients, in the countryâ€™s economic growth. Standard Bank will be well-positioned to take advantage of the cross-sectorial investment opportunities both in Ethiopia and the region as a whole. Our experience in East African markets will benefit all our clients by providing them with insights into how best to capitalise on their investments in the region,â€ said Kruger.