Ethiopia: Ex-Central Bank Vice Governor Takes Helm As Development Bank's Top Executive

Yohannes Ayalew (PhD), the former vice governor and chief economist of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE).

The board of the Development Bank of Ethiopia (DBE) has appointed Yohannes Ayalew (PhD), the former vice governor and chief economist of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), as the new president, replacing Haileyesus Bekele. A board director of DBE, Yohannes was appointed to run the Bank beginning September 12, 2020. The board has dispatched his appointment letter to the central bank and to the Public Enterprises Holding & Administration Agency on the same date.

Yohannes, who was an executive director of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute, has to leave his role on the board before assuming the top executive position at the Bank, according to a source familiar with the case. It is not the first time a former vice governor has assumed such a responsibility. Getahun Nana, a former vice governor of the central bank, also had a debut as chief of Ethiopia's policy bank.

The board of directors of DBE has also decided to freeze all the pending loans that were approved while Haileyesus was on duty, according to the same source. Haileyesus, who served the Bank for the past two years, resigned on September 10, 2020. He was vice president of the Bank in charge of credit management until he was promoted to president on July 4, replacing Getahun. Before he moved to the DBE in 2016, Haileyesus was the president of the dissolved Construction & Business Bank (CBB).

The policy bank has been in deep waters due to the mounting bad loans mainly disbursed to commercial farms in Gambella.

Its non-performing loan ratio stood at 25pc in the last fiscal year, still an improvement from 40pc that was registered the previous year. The management and the board of the bank, chaired by Tegegnewok Gettu, a retired UN senior staffer, has developed a five-year reform plan that diverts the source of the finance from the central bank to bond bills and funding from development partners.

More From: Addis Fortune

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