What Happened: The National Bank of Ethiopia has granted its first financial services license to a foreign company, Bloomberg reported Aug. 8. The grant went to Ethio Lease, a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. equipment leasing firm Africa Asset Finance Co., and will help deliver much-needed equipment to the country.
Why It Matters: The decision marks another significant step toward market liberalization for Ethiopia, as it will increase the ability of foreign businesses to operate within the country amid a shortage of foreign exchange reserves.
Background: The Ethiopian government's focus on massive infrastructure projects has dramatically exacerbated the country's foreign exchange shortages, making it increasingly difficult for locals to get access to much-needed imports, such as medicine.
- Is Abiy's Liberalization Push Too Much, Too Soon for Ethiopia? (June 26, 2019)
- Ethiopia Comes to a Crossroads on Economic Reform (April 3, 2019)
- Landlocked Ethiopia Charts a Course for a Navy (March 18, 2019)