ADDIS ABEBA – State-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia inaugurated its branch in Djibouti, the bank’s president Bacha Gina announced.
“Today we have inaugurated Djibouti subsidiary branch,” he said on Sunday.
Apart from Bacha, President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, and Ambassador of Ethiopia to Djibouti, Abdulaziz Mohamed, attended the inauguration ceremony.
President Guelleh said the branch office will reinforce the ties between the two countries besides strengthening the level of bankarization of residents of Djibouti.
It will also serve as a new lever for investment in Djibouti and attract Ethiopians to invest in sectors like housing, tourism and the digital economy, among others, according to state-affiliated broadcaster FBC.
The inauguration of office is the final step of the process of the planned economic integration between the two countries, the President indicated.
Ethiopia and Djibouti have strategic and complementary partnerships in the field of import-export, infrastructure, electricity, water, energy and other mega-projects such as Poly-GCL.
The recent history of the CBE in Djibouti is tainted with ups and downs. The bank began operation in 1962 as a liaison office and became a full-fledged bank in 1971.
Its officials decided to close the branch over a decade ago mainly due to reportedly a high non-performing loan portfolio amounting to USD 16.7 million.
Before its closure, the bank was one of Djibouti’s major financial players with its own buildings. Khat importers were the major customers of CBE’s Djibouti branch.
The bank re-opened its branch 18 months ago. Unlike the previous times, it is yet to make any profit, according to reports, due to a delay in getting swift code to carry out its services effectively.
CBE is competing with a total of 12 banks that are operational providing financial services.