High time to Ethiopian banks for global competition: Premier

• New HQ keeps CBE’s unparalleled status

ADDIS ABABA– Owing to the eventual opening up of the financial sector to foreign actors and the expansion of ultramodern financial technologies including cryptocurrency, Ethiopian banks should be ready for global competition, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) said.

The Premier made the above remark on Sunday while inaugurating the 53-storey new headquarters of the state-owned financial giant Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), which consumes six years and 303.5 million USD.

Noting the three-decades protectionist policy will cease shortly, Abiy stressed that both the CBE and private banks should attach immense investment to technology modernization, human capacity development and quality services apart from ventures in physical branches. “Ethiopia has a vision to penetrate in to the East African and the continental banking industry and CBE as the leading firm, should ready itself for regional and global competition.”

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister underscored that the CBE, the main state-financer, attested Ethiopia’s capability to build cross-generational institutions in its 80-years successful journey and remains the umbrella of the country’s financial industry.

 CBE’s acquisition of more than 52 percent of all bank deposits and more than 60 percent of the sector’s total assets has been unparalleled in Ethiopia’s financial industry.

CBE President Abie Sano said on the occasion that the bank has been playing an immense role in nurturing the society’s saving culture and financing business and investment ventures in its eight-decade existence. The CBE has an enormous contribution in providing a skilled labor force for the thriving banking sector and out of the 18 operational banks in Ethiopia, the 12’s presidents served in the state-owned firm.

Also, CBE is the main financier of Ethiopia’s mega projects including the iconic Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, sugar factories, housing programs and contributed 2.6 billion Birr for Dine for Ethiopia greenery program. CBE’s extensive branch network that encompasses every corner of the country, implementation of modern technologies, immense capital and loan disbursing capability puts it in a different level in Ethiopia’s banking sector.

About the new headquarters, the president indicated that the facility was being built with an emphasis to maintain the leading position CBE has enjoyed in the banking industry and provide world class service for the growing customers. The building was being built with an emphasis on products, customers, geographical distribution, and the high function of all of its resources.

During the occasion, CBE extended special awards for five individuals namely Ambassador Girma Birru, Teklewold Atnafu, Tefera Degefe (PhD), Abera Alemu and Tilahun Abay for their extraordinary contribution to the success of the bank and the national economy at large.

CBE is one of the largest banks in East Africa and its total assets hit over 1.1 trillion Birr during the end of January 2022. While the number of branches reached close to 1, 800 in the reported period, the customer base stretched to over 34 million.



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