By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
April 14, 2012(ADDIS ABABA) - One of Ethiopia’s leading banking groups United Bank is poised to open its first branch outside Ethiopia in South Sudan’s capital Juba, according to a release from the bank.
The new venture will make it Ethiopia’s first private bank to break into the banking industry inside the continent’s newest nation. The Kenya Commercial Bank also has a presence in South Sudan.
The state-owned Ethiopian Commercial Bank (ECB), opened a branch in South Sudan in 2009 following the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that brought an end to over two decades of civil war between Sudan and South Sudan.
United Bank said it is finalising preparations to open in Juba. When opened, the bank said it will render all types of commercial banking services.
Banking policies in South Sudan oblige foreign bank firms to have a minimum of 15 million dollars of initial capital to begin operation.
United Bank say it plans to open more branches in other African countries.
Founded in 1998, currently United Bank has 57 branches across Ethiopia. During the 2010/2011 fiscal year the bank reported an all time high gross profit of 330 million Birr - around $19 million.