East Africa Business Weekly“East Africa Bank brings products that meet the people’s needs. We are offering Islamic financial services solutions to clients in Djibouti and in the East Africa region,” EAB CEO said during an interview after the official opening of its new headquarters in Djibouti City early in the week.
Friday April 12, 2019
By Odindo Ayieko
East Africa Bank (EAB) is on the path to becoming one of the top financial institutions in the region.
The bank has its services available in 15 locations in Djibouti and is targeting to have more physical presence in the country and venture into Ethiopia, and other Eastern African countries.
The expansion resonates with the name East Africa Bank and the institution’s Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Rashid Jaffar says the next five years are crucial for the Bank to grow, expand and diversify its product and service offerings.
He said East Africa Bank is focussed on being the leading force in commodity trading in the next five years.
As part of the long term expansion plan, the bank which is a subsidiary of Dahabshiil Group has built a new headquarters in Djibouti City complete with new banking halls to serve an ever increasing client base. Dahabshiil has presence in Africa, the Middle East, America and Australia. The new facility targets corporate customers.
Dahabshiil International Group Chief Executive Officer Abdirashid Duale said the expansion of East Africa Bank will not only create jobs but give financial access to the communities and the unbanked across the region.
“East African Bank is a leading commercial bank in Djibouti and we aim to grow beyond Djibouti. Ours is to offer cutting edge, inclusive financial services to the unbanked community. We will increase access through remittances, mobile money, access to finance and other tailored products,” the Dahabshiil Group CEO stated.
Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh who inaugurated the official opening of the East African Bank tower on Thursday morning, said “the positive effects of the bank was already being felt in the country” . “The (EAB) bank has already created jobs for our young professionals, it is reaching out to the unbanked and we are looking forward for more people being integrated in the formal banking system,” said the President.
On the back of an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in infrastructure projects and the regional trade, Djibouti’s banking sector has leveraged on this developments, experiencing rapid expansion in recent years. The most visible change has been the increase in the number of players in the market, rolling out products and services targeting local clients. The East Africa Bank leads in this direction.
The Djiboutian banking system has benefitted from the country’s broader macroeconomic stability and openness – a valuable trait in the region – with a fully convertible currency, a fixed exchange regime and free movement of capital.
This is a key aspect of the government’s drive to make Djibouti a bigger financial hub for capital inflows into and out of neighbouring Ethiopia with its 110m population, Somali regions, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and beyond.
Djibouti is trying to capitalise on its strategic location, ambitious to transform its port of into the largest and most competitive transhipment hub for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
“We at EAB are committed to serving the large number of traders, investors and corporations operating in Djibouti, Ethiopia and beyond,” Jaffer said.
According to the World Bank, Djibouti has a financial exclusion rate of 87.7 percent, meaning that the majority of the citizens are unbanked or underbanked.
But East Africa Bank, according to the Dahabshiil Group CEO wants to catalyze change from cash society to widespread use of the banking services it offers.
They have invested in IT and rolling out e-banking to create user-friendly ways for households to pay their bills electronically.
Launched in 2010 and licensed by the Central Bank of the Republic of Djibouti, the East Africa Bank was established to deliver the highest standards of banking services in line with the highest standards of compliance.