Melaku Kebede (leftmost), president of Hibret Bank, was all smiles late last week as he showed off to President Sahle-Work Zewde and Yinager Dessie (PhD), governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the new headquarters of one of the largest banks in Ethiopia. It is the latest shiny, slick building to dot the financial district in the Senga Terra area, a.k.a the Wall Street of Addis Abeba.

Built over six years with 2.8 billion Br, Hibret Bank hired a local consultant, Eskinder Architects, and China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation Group to get the job done. At 37 storeys high, Hibret and Nib Bank (inaugurated last September) stand as the tallest finished buildings in Ethiopia. They will eventually lose this tribute to the headquarters of the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) when it officially inaugurates what will be the country’s first skyscraper, which is generally buildings with over 40 storeys.

The 25-year old Hibret Bank has been undergoing a facelift over the past few years. It adopted a new logo two years ago, featuring hands interlocking to convey the essence of hibret, translated to unity. Like the headquarters on and around Ras Abeba Aregay Street, other banks have also been in a flurry to update their brands, products and services to attract customers in an increasingly competitive industry. The building binge will continue after this, with Zemen and the CBE in the finishing stages of their multibillion Birr headquarters. There are further plans to start new skyscrapers. Awash is planning a second headquarters that will rival the CBE’s height while the Bank of Abyssinia has awarded a Chinese contractor for building a 60-storey, 400 million dollar skyscraper.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 15,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1133]

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