Banking Sector Reform In Ethiopia
Keywords:state-dominated banking, efficiency, competition, foreign banks, market forces, exchange rate
The fragile and inefficient state-dominated banking sector that existed in Ethiopia during the military government (1974-1991) was a major hindrance to economic growth. Since it took power in 1991, the current government has implemented a number of reforms. For instance, in 1994, the government legalized domestic private investment in the banking industry. In addition, it restructured the two development banks as commercial banks, and introduced a new Banking and Monetary Proclamation that gave more autonomy and further clarified the National Bank of Ethiopia’s activities as the regulator and supervisor of the banking sector. Although these measures have led to marginal improvements in efficiency and competition, there is a great need for additional market oriented reforms to further enhance the sector’s role in mobilizing savings and allocating funds to their optimum usage. The purpose of this paper was to analyze additional market-based policy initiatives undertaken by the government to determine if they would further enhance the efficiency of the banking sector in Ethiopia. Based on the results of the data analysis it may be concluded that the Ethiopian government needs to further strategize and take the following steps: a) reverse the decision prohibiting foreign banks from investing in the country, b) fully privatize the state-owned commercial banks, c) allow market forces to determine interest rates and the exchange rate of the Ethiopian currency, Birr (ETB), and d) upgrade the regulatory and supervisory capacity of the National Bank of Ethiopia to facilitate efficiency in the banking market.
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