CBE returns to Djibouti

The 74 year old financial giant, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), has reopened its Djibouti subsidiary company as part of its international strategy.

The state owned bank opened the Djibouti CBE on April 8, with services like savings, remittance and international trade.

Yishak Mengesha, Chief Business Development Officer of CBE, told Capital that in the initial stage the subsidiary company at Djibouti has commenced its operation with the stated three services. “We will expand our services as per the market demand,” he explained.

CBE has been in the Djiboutian  market previously but closed its branch about 12 years ago. “We have reopened as per the regulation that Central Bank of Djibouti set,” he said.

In Djibouti CBE began operating in 1962 as a liaison office and became a full-fledged bank in 1971, according to the bank’s history.

The two countries, Djibouti and Ethiopia, have strong economic relations. Djibouti has been the main hub for Ethiopia’s international trade since the country become landlocked in 1993.

The economic activity in Djibouti and business relations between the two countries has grown in the past decade, The state bank is the only Ethiopian business entity to engage in overseas business activity. Djibouti that is one of the fastest growing countries due to its geographical location that makes the country a key connection to the Mediterranean Sea via the Suez Cannel to the Gulf of Eden has entertained different financial firms in the past few years.

“We have undertaken wide preparation to commence the operation in Djibouti,” he said.

“We are not new to the market and the clients so we believe will get ample customers there,” Yishak added.

“We are continuing on our assessment to join other countries’ financial markets as per the rule and regulations that govern the system in the countries,” Yishak said.

The bank is carrying out a study to spread its branches into the US, South Africa and the Middle East including Djibouti.

In 2009 CBE opened a subsidiary company in South Sudan. The subsidiary company in South Sudan has four branches.  The company name CBE-South Sudan Ltd was established with a paid up capital of USD 15 million.

In the first nine months of the financial year CBE has earned 11.2 billion birr gross profit before tax with total revenue of 23.4 billion birr. It assets has reached 438.6 billion birr, according to the statement that the bank sent to Capital.  CBE is a mammoth profit maker in the country’s financial sector.