Several members of a high-level business delegation accompanying Prime Minister Theresa May to a number of African countries, including Kenya and South Africa have expressed the hope of integrating their expertise and services in the local banking industry.
This comes as Ethiopia is scoring an economical high and is on the verge of becoming a manufacturing hub for the region focused on a robust relationship within the region, notably with its once arch-enemy, Eritrea.
The head of the Standard Chartered Bank, Bill Winters, told a number of media outlets in Kenya of his hope that Ethiopia’s banking industry might finally be open to international players.
“Love to think that there are opportunities in Ethiopia,” he said from Nairobi, Kenya.
“The problem is that it’s entirely closed to foreign banks. The underlying fundamentals are pretty interesting. It would be nice if we could get in and take a look and see if we could add some value”.
The Prime Minister in the midst of unstable government, focused on a discussion on Brexit, and is in the continent to promote trade instead of aid that once defined its relationship with the African continent.
The era of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has given hope to many players, as he has advocated for a further foreign investment to the nations once untouchable government controlled institutions, including Ethiopian Airlines, telecommunication and the infrastructures that have helped reverse Ethiopia’s once shabby reputation as an aid dependent nation, to one that has one of the fastest growing economies in the region.
The call to enter the Ethiopian Banking industry by Bill Winters mirrors the uniform-like demand of others, including the CEO of KCB Group, Kenya’s largest bank. Ethiopia’s banking industry was nationalized by the Derg regime in 1975.