Ethiopia’s largest commercial bank, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) made history on Monday when they opened an all-female branch in the capital, Addis Ababa.
The CEO of CBE, Ato Bacha Gina, at the inauguration, highlighted the important roles women play in the economy and the need to spotlight them.
“Women have been under-represented until recently in all sectors of the economy despite their enormous contribution to the economy,” he said, according to a statement released by the CBE.
“Empowering women to take part in all economic sectors is essential to achieve development objectives,” he added.
Gina also revealed the bank’s plans of opening more all-female branches in major regional states and also announced the bank’s intentions of launching an exclusive credit facility for women aimed at promoting women entrepreneurship, the statement further disclosed.
Named after veteran banker Leikun Berhanu, the new all-female branch follows a recent trend of having more women at the forefront in workplaces and political positions in a bid to have greater female representation in the Horn of Africa nation with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed spearheading the campaign.
After Abiy assumed power last year, an experienced diplomat, Sahle-Work Zewde, was elected as the country’s president making her Africa’s fourth and currently only female president. Zewde served for a long time in the world of diplomacy representing Ethiopia in many African countries and also worked for the United Nations.
Half of Abiy’s 20 ministerial positions are being held by women. Another woman, Birtukan Mideksa, who is a former judge, was also appointed as the head of the country’s elections board.
The parliament also swore in the country’s first female supreme court president, Meaza Ashenafi. A prominent women rights activist, Ashenafi is one of Ethiopia’s most seasoned lawyers and the founder of Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association, having served as High Court Judge between 1989 and 1992.
To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Addis Ababa to Stockholm and Oslo was managed by an all-women flight crew. The historic flight was operated by Ethiopian Airlines women professionals from flight deck all the way to the ground. In other words, the airport operations, flight dispatch, load control, ramp operation, onboard logistics, safety and security, catering as well as air traffic control, was carried out entirely by women, reports the ENA.