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Ethiopia’s Only Foreign-Owned Financial Company is Set to Shut Operations 

Ethio Lease, the New York-based African Asset Finance Company (AAFC), a leasing firm targeting emerging markets, said it had directed its Ethiopian unit “to begin the process of voluntary liquidation”, citing forex constraints. “As a result of the changes to the regulatory framework, the viability of Ethio Lease as a foreign-owned leasing company became structurally impaired,” it said in a statement dated November 15. The company was the first and only foreign group to obtain a financial licence from the National Bank of Ethiopia in 2019, as part of reforms to open the country’s tightly-controlled economy. According to Ethio Lease, chaired by former Ethiopian Airlines chief executive Girma Wake, the troubles began in 2021 when the central bank changed the regulatory framework.