The National Bank of Ethiopia granted a license to Ethio Lease, making it the first foreign-owned entity to receive a financial services license

Ethio Lease Receives Financial Service License and Opens for Business in Ethiopia

Leasing Company Becomes First Foreign-Owned Business to provide financial services.

Addis Ababa – Thursday, August 8th, 2019 – The National Bank of Ethiopia granted a license to Ethio Lease, making it the first foreign-owned entity to receive a financial services license in the country. Ethio Lease is a subsidiary of Africa Asset Finance Company Inc. (AAFC), a US-headquartered equipment finance firm that owns and operates a group of companies that provides asset backed lending (ABL) and leasing services throughout Africa.

Ethio Lease officially launched on August 8th, 2019, at ­­­­­­­­­the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa, in the presence of NBE Governor Dr. Yinager Dessie, the Minister of Finance Ato Ahmed Shide, Ethio Lease board chairman Ato Girma Wake, other key government officials and relevant stakeholders.

His Excellency Dr. Yinager Dessie, Governor of the NBE stated, “Being the first company to provide equipment leasing services, Ethio Lease promises to be a game changer in Ethiopia. We believe this venture has a huge potential to boost the economy, while providing significant financial gains for the country.”

His Excellency Ato Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance welcomed the first foreign-owned financial services company to Ethiopia, building on the promise His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed made at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, to open Ethiopia to foreign investment.

The leasing concept was introduced in Ethiopia to address equipment and forex shortages and provide easy access to needed equipment, thereby creating local jobs and increasing productivity. Ethio Lease will offer a wide range of leasing services for multiple sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, energy, food processing (including coffee), among others.

The US Ambassador Michael Raynor to Ethiopia in his statement stated, “Ethio Lease represents an amazing opportunity – tens of millions of dollars of American capital; the latest in manufacturing, agriculture, and construction equipment technology; and a sustainable financial model that unleashes the potential of Ethiopian businesses, without adding to Ethiopia’s debt burden. This is a prime example of how the United States invests in Ethiopia.”

Talking about the significance of the launch of Ethio Lease, Board Chairman of Ethio Lease Ato Girma Wake, said: “Leasing high-quality equipment could have a potentially transformative impact on Ethiopia because it allows companies to free up their liquidity and generate revenue without having to heavily invest in equipment first. A leasing agreement would also allow companies to pay for the equipment as it generates revenues for them.”

Ethio Lease offers long-term leases known as capital leases, which provide companies and individuals with lease contracts that cover the significant portion of the economic life of the purchased equipment. Depending on the equipment, Ethio Lease will ensure that companies that lease equipment adhere to proper operations, maintenance upkeep, health and safety, and adequate storage throughout the lease period.

When asked about how equipment leasing would benefit Ethiopians, Ethio Lease CEO, Ato Girum Tsegaye, reiterated: “The main advantage of leasing for Ethiopians is that Ethio Lease will acquire the equipment in foreign currency and provide companies with the equipment they need to conduct their business operations using the local currency.  We will simply charge companies a monthly lease fee, which will be combined with the fees for insurance and maintenance agreement of the leased equipment.”   Unlike other companies, Ethio Lease does not have to queue for forex, as they will use their own funds from the parent company.

The company plans to provide leasing services to address equipment shortages in the healthcare, agriculture, food processing, energy and manufacturing sectors.  The firm conducted a year-long feasibility study and market research in 2017 to determine areas of interest and understand the supply chain mechanisms, including considerations related to leasing equipment and the complex regulatory framework.  Ethio Lease will own and oversee the maintenance including proper use of the equipment, throughout the lease period, providing the lessee with the option to buy the equipment from the company for the residual value, at the end of the lease period.

According to Ethio Lease Vice Chairman, Mr. Frans VanSchaik, equipment leasing is a trillion dollar market in the US alone with 70% of all equipment provided through equipment finance or leasing programs. According to the latest Global Leasing Report by the White Clark Group, the Pan-African leasing market was estimated to be just USD 5.4 billion in 2015, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimated the Pan-African market at USD 40 billion in 2017. AAFC believes the increased adoption of leasing will be economically transformative and accelerate the development of many African nations and companies.

About AAFC

U.S.-based Africa Asset Finance Company Inc. (AAFC) is a non-banking financial services firm that provides equipment leasing and finance solutions. The firm is headquartered in New York. Its wholly-owned Ethiopian company, Ethio Lease, specializes in providing capital leases (or finance leases) to Ethiopian businesses for equipment in a range of vertical markets. For additional information, please visit and

Media Contacts for AAFC and Ethio Lease:

Ato Girum Tsegaye

Ethio Lease CEO

Mr. Frans VanSchaik,

AAFC Chairman & CEO, Ethio Lease Vice Chairman


  1. This type of business is not new since it has been part of the manufacturing and service economy here in the US for a long time. It is also well regulated one. It has many benefits especially for those who lack the capital or do not want to spend substantial portion of their seed money to buy the equipment they need to make their product. I had leased equipments for the mfg company I used to work on many occasions. In most cases, we ended up buying them at the end of the leases.

    I hope that the old country has a well thought out guideline and regulations before the practice becomes widespread. I am for anything that will help spread industrialization of the old country. It is now already the age of Industry 4.0 and the old country with all its easily acclimated immense working generation has a lot of catching up to do. I am for anything that will peacefully wean away the hapless youth from the poison it has been bottle fed by the bigots. Go Old Country! Go!!!


  2. The concept is new for Ethiopia but long-practiced in, for example, USA. Lease financing is standard practice in the consumer car industry, farm equipment, and others. Ethiopian Airlines is another example that used (and continues to use) aircraft leasing in its businesses. The proposed project in Ethiopia is an excellent initiative to relieve the severe foreign exchange constraints facing businesses (and consumers); it has a potential to be hugely successful and transformative. But managing implementation could be very labor intensive and expensive from identification of the potential lease customers to proper use of equipment, maintenance, and collection of debt. Local banks could provide valuable information about their experiences with borrowers, quality of loan portfolios, collection rates, non-performing loans, and profitability, all of which may help the new company design its own procedures.

    There will definitely be huge challenges, but the potential benefits are also huge. Good luck!

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