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Ethiopia issues financial services license to a foreign firm for the first time

The Ethiopian central bank on Aug. 7 issued a financial services license to a foreign-owned firm for the first time amid the country's push to open a tightly controlled financial sector to foreign investors, Reuters reported.

The license was issued to Ethio Lease, an equipment leasing firm controlled by U.S.-based Africa Asset Finance Co. The firm will initially import $600 million worth of equipment to help tackle the shortage the country is facing, the newswire said.

The National Bank of Ethiopia Governor Yinager Dessie told Reuters in an interview that the bank would like to issue licenses to more foreign firms that lease equipment — a development that will lead to "more jobs" and "economic growth."

Ethiopia will continue to take measures to support its private sector, the report said, citing Dessie.