Kenya’s Equity Bank Forrays Into Ethiopia
One of Kenya’s top three largest banks, Equity Bank, has officially announced the set up of a Commercial Representative Office in Ethiopia‘s capital city, Addis Ababa, as it prepares to commence operations in the Horn of Africa nation.
Equity Bank has appointed Hassan Maalim as the Head of the Commercial Representative Office which will be based at Kazanchis – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and is expected to be fully operational in July this year.
Hassan joined Equity Bank in 2005 and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree and an MBA in Finance.
Equity Group CEO and MD, Dr. James Mwangi said, “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 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.”
Equity Bank’s entry into one of Africa’s most populous countries, follows Ethiopia’s privatization commission and ongoing reforms which are aimed at promoting a growing private sector. Ethiopia is now ranked as Africa’s fastest growing economy according to recent data from International Monetary Fund.
Kenya and Ethiopia have been working together on various projects, with the most notable being the LAPSET project, where they have initiated a massive transport and infrastructure plans to link Addis Ababa to Kenya’s port town of Lamu. The project also incorporates South Sudan, and comprises construction of ports, pipelines, new roads, airports and standard gauge railways.
The entry into Ethiopia comes soon after Equity Group announced the Bank’s entry into Zambia and Mozambique after striking a preliminary agreement with Atlas Mara Limited to exchange ordinary shares in the 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 people, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan and the DRC.