Operating Environment Overview | Ethiopian Banking Institutions (Jul 2022)

Ethiopia is a landlocked country on the Horn of Africa and is the largest and most populous country in that region. With a population of 101.3m people, Ethiopia is the second most populous nation in Africa after Nigeria, and the fastest growing economy in the region. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita income of about USD890. Ethiopia’s location gives it strategic importance due to its proximity to the Middle East and its markets. More than 70% of Ethiopia’s population is still employed in the agricultural sector contributing about 32.5% of GDP as at 1H2021, although the services sector (39.6%) has surpassed agriculture as the principal source of GDP, with industry (29.3%) also registering a significant contribution. Over the past 15 years, Ethiopia’s economy has been among the fastest growing in the world (at an average of 9.5%). Among other factors, growth has been led by capital accumulation, in particular through public infrastructure investments. However, according to the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”), Ethiopia’s real GDP growth slowed to 6.1% in 2020 and was 6.3% in 2021, due to the COVID-19 crisis with growth in industry and services easing to single digits. Furthermore, the domestic security situation (instability in the Tigray and Oromia region) have created significant health, social and economic challenges. However, agriculture was not significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its contribution to growth slightly improved in 2021 compared to the previous year. The government’s wide-ranging policy responses have mitigated some of the impact of the crisis while supporting macroeconomic stability. The National Bank of Ethiopia (“NBE”, “central bank”) injected liquidity into the market, providing much needed support to the banking system and firms that were adversely affected.

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