Ethiopia's New Financial Sector and Its Regulation

Is financial liberalisation the key to macro-economic growth and stability in Ethiopia?

Ethiopia is one of a number of Sub Saharan African economies that adopted state-led development strategies in the 1970s and suffered from intense conflict .The new government was faced with the twin tasks of reconstructing the economy, and embarking on the transition to a market economy.

As part of this process:

  • State banks have been reorganized;
  • Role of the private sector in the financial system has been expanded;
  • Interest-rate controls have been liberalized;
  • The central bank has been given new powers of financial supervision.

Financial reform has been gradual, but nevertheless determined despite disagreement with the IMF over restrictions on the entry of foreign banks and the role of the largest state bank. This paper states that:

  • Gradual financial liberalization (while simultaneously investing in regulatory capacity) is the appropriate strategy for maintaining macro-economic stability and growth in Ethiopia;
  • The Chinese transition strategy (in which significant control was retained over the financial sector), can be a useful guide to strategy design in SSA, provided that rent-seeking can be contained.

About this Publication

By Addison, A. & Geda, A.