A commercial success looks to increase competition

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-10-15 08:18
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A universal bank that caters for all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, domestic trade, finance, transport and fisheries, the Commercial Bank of Eritrea is committed to a dynamic financial sector in Eritrea.

With a mission to provide credit facilities for Eritreans to realize their business dreams, the Bank enjoys an 85percent share of the market, making it the largest commercial institution in the country.

General manager Yemane Tesfay is convinced that Chinese participation will add extra value and efficiencies to the bank and its clients, and bring much-needed competition to the banking sector.

"As a banker for 30 years, I am pro-competition, so a Chinese investor taking control of the management of the bank would be good for Eritrea and good for the investor.

"We have a network of branches all over the country, even in the rural areas, so there is a solid base laid. The infrastructure is there, the reputation is there, public confidence is there and on top of all that, we have a young and educated workforce and can communicate in different languages. Taking China's general interest in Africa into account, I am optimistic it will be beneficial for both sides."

Internationally minded

Tesfay believes it is the bank's asset base and capitalization under the Basel II agreement that secured its inclusion as one of The Banker magazine's Top 100 African Banks.

The bank also prides itself on having relationships with around 30 correspondent banks in Europe, the US and the Far East, and on being a member of the SWIFT family.

These factors, along with a computerized banking system and systematic training programs for staff, all point to an internationally minded institution. "We would like to establish more links with China," Tesfay said. "If there are goods and services going back and forth between the two nations, there is no reason why we cannot have a strong relationship.

"Being State-owned, our banks are not as efficient as they could be. Chinese investors can enjoy the first-bird advantages if they come and participate now. It will be a pleasure to serve their investments."

China Daily

A commercial success looks to increase competition

(China Daily 10/15/2010 page15)