File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Addis Ababa - Standard Bank Group has expanded its East African footprint with the official opening of a representative office in Ethiopia.

The bank's chief executive, Ben Kruger, who opened the representative office in Addis Ababa, said on Friday the growth potential for the East African region continued to attract significant investment.

“We are able to leverage our strong position on the continent, our strategic partnership with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), and our sector expertise in natural resources to facilitate capital investment in support of growth, and to connect African markets to each other,” Kruger said.

The office in Ethiopia - which has the second largest population on the continent, behind Nigeria - adds to the bank's established presence across four of the key markets in the region: Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Taitu Wondwosen, Standard Bank's head of coverage in Ethiopia, said the bank was uniquely positioned to support the government's plans to attract more investment into the country through their client base on the continent.

Strong economic growth in Ethiopia has been underpinned by high public investment and a growing consumer base.

Heavy public investment in agriculture, energy and transport is expected to continue, and the energy sector is set to boom with power projects at various stages of development.