(Bloomberg) -- Equity Group Holdings Plc. plans to set up a representative office in Ethiopia as the East African nation opens up its financial sector, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
Kenya’s biggest bank by market value received approval to open the office at the end of May, the person said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. It also secured a license to provide remittance services in partnership with an Ethiopian lender to target three million Ethiopians living abroad, the person said.
A spokesman for Equity Group didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Neither did Yinager Dessie, the governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia.
Equity Group would be the second Kenyan bank to set up in Ethiopia after rival KCB Group opened a representative office in the capital, Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia, which has 18 commercial banks serving more than 100 million people, is working with the World Bank to open up its financial sector to foreign investment. The industry has been closed to investors since a Marxist junta nationalized lenders four decades ago. Significant changes may include the establishment of a capital market and the modernization of the nation’s payment system.
Equity Group helped facilitate 106.7 billion shillings ($1.1 billion) of remittances to Kenya by end of 2018 through partnerships with global payment companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc. and Moneygram International Inc.
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