Ahadu Bank was on Saturday officially inaugurated in the country as the latest private bank in Ethiopia. Ahadu is a geez, ancient Ethiopian language word, and it means the number 1.
Eshetu Fantaye, Director of the Bank, says the Bank is established with a motto of “Inclusive Intermediation.” The Amharic Moto literally translates to “From Many to Many.”
The Bank is established with 702 million birr paid capital, and it is said to have more than 10,000 shareholders at this point.
Ahadu Bank seeks to be different from other banks in Ethiopia in that it is prioritising inclusion by making banking services available to citizens with no banking services, including the pastoralist communities.
On the other hand the bank aspires to be paperless by carrying out transactions electronically. Clearly, that aspect of it is going to be an issue since technological infrastructures in the rural and pastoralist areas of Ethiopia, one of the areas where the bank seeks to have a strong presence, are poor.
However, Yinager Dessie, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, gave testimonial about Ahadu Bank, during the inaugural ceremony in the capital Addis Ababa, saying that “the distance that Ahadu Bank travelled to implement digital banking services is admirable.”
State media cited Yinager Dessie as saying that competition in the banking sector (both locally and abroad) is strong and that shareholders should strive to make it competitive.
He also advised the bank to make rural communities beneficiaries from the banking services.
Ahadu Bank is planning to make up to 15 percent of loans available to small businesses and investors.
The number of Ethiopian Private Banks has been growing. in the past few decades. Most banks do rather seem to be a reflection of Ethiopian politics and administration ; they are ethnic based.
What sets Ahadu Bank apart is not an ethnic – based one, The motto from “Many to many” seems to capture that very essence.
The problem is that it has to operate in an ethnic based administrative structures and could face pressure from elites (both in the government and in the opposition quarters)