FAQ - National Bank


Does NBE provide loan?

NBE, as a central bank, does provide loan to the government and banks, not to individuals and business entities.

What is the current deposit interest rate?

NBE has set the minimum saving and time deposit rates at 5%. But banks may pay higher than this rate

What is the lending rate of Banks?

The lending rate is fully liberalized, and hence there is no lower/upper lending limit rate in the country. Each bank determines the lending rates.

Can any one participate in the auction of Treasury Bills?

Yes, with the minimum amount of birr 5000.

Can I get a foreign currency to pay for education, subscriptions, health, etc?

All eligible individuals can get foreign currency from commercial banks for these and other purposes.

How many banks, insurance companies & micro finance (MFIs) org. operate in Ethiopia?

There are 16 private and 3 government-owned banks, 17 private and 1 government owned insurance companies, and 35 Microfinance institutions (as of May,2012.)

What are the Ethiopian currency denominations?

Ethiopia has 1,5,10, 50 and 100 birr notes and a 1, 5 10,25,50 cents coins

Which commercial bank, insurance company or MFIs is trust worthy to deal with?

Only Ethiopians can own and operate financial institutions.

Who is eligible to engage in the business of banks, insurance and MFIs?

All are trust worthy and working as per the close inspection and guidance of NBE.

What are the majors foreign currencies that the country uses?

US Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euro are vastly used in Ethiopia. However, banks in Ethiopia transact in Japanese Yen, Rand, Rupee, Swedish Krona, etc.

Is the Birr vulnerable to counterfeit, as other currencies do?

All currencies are venerable to counterfeit. Hence you need to know your currency’s security features in order to combat counterfeit.

What should I do, if I find a counterfeit?

You should immediately report the case to the police.

Can I use credit card in Ethiopia? Which types of credit cards are used in the country?

Yes. But only few paces give credit cared services for customers. Since 2006, Domestic banks have also started to issue credit cards and one can use these credit cards. In Ethiopia, American Express, Master, Visa, Diners Club and Cart Blanche, and Euro cards are used.

Is it possible to transact in foreign currency?

Only certified hotels, duty free shops, immigration offices. Civil Aviation authority and airline ticket offices are entitled to accept payments in foreign currency.

Can I deposit a foreign currency in my account?

All Ethiopian nationals living and working abroad and non-resident foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin can open fixed (time deposit), current and non-reparable Birr account in commercial banks.

What Does International Remittance Transfer by Nationals Mean?

International Remittance Transfer by Nationals means monetary transfers that overseas Ethiopians and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin make money transfers to their home country through Remittance Service Providers (RSPs).

Who Are Remittance Service Providers (RSPs)?

Remittance Service Providers are licensed transfer houses that provide remittance service to customers either directly by banks via SWIFT or through money transferring agents working in association with banks.

What does SWIFT mean?

SWIFT is a secured telecommunication system serving members and the financial community. The word SWIFT represents Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunication. It is a reliable and less costly method to transfer money. All banks in Ethiopia use the system to effect monetary transaction.

Banks have two important secret codes called Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and International Bank Account Number (IBAN), which help them to communicate and provide safe service. While the former is the unique address, which helps banks to identify the financial institutions during telecommunication messages, the latter is a code that uniquely identifies an account held in correspondent banks.

What are the major features of contractual agreements among RSPs and their agents?

To minimize the cost of international remittance transfer service in Ethiopia and to make market structure more commutative:

  •  RSPS shall arrange non-exclusive conditions when making agency agreements between them;
  • Contractual agreements between RSPs shall be renewed every two years upon receipt of consent from NBE;
  •  RSPs shall charge zero or minimum tariff on remittance transfer service and shall disclose same including any change thereof to NBE;
  • RSPs need to obtain approval from the NBE before entering into new agency agreement with international money transferring operators.

What are the major types of international remittance transfer?

The following are the major transfer types contained in the international remittance transfer:-

  • Personal transfers
  • Money to be used for investment
  • International cash donations
  • Deposit and service payments
  • Temporary and permanent migrants transfer.

Where shall users of international remittance transfer system get info concerning service?

Users of this system can obtain information from Access points such as
a. Bank branches
b. Post offices
c. NBE’s and commercial banks’ and Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites
d. Brochures
e. Telephone etc.

What are the major instit. eligible to provide low cost international remittance service.

The following institutions/organizations are legally eligible institutions to provide low
cost international remittance service in Ethiopia.
a) International money transfers operators in association with banks, which are licensed entities to provide money-transferring services internationally. These are Western Union, Money Gram, Maniflo, and Adam Funds etc;
b) Commercial banks, which are, licensed business organizations to provide financial intermediation;
c) Non-Financial organizations, which are business organizations that are allowed to engage in remittance services through their branches overseas. These are:

  • Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) and
  • Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL).

Is there any obligation that Remittance Service Providers should fulfill?

Yes, to protect customers of this service, Remittance Service Providers (RSPs) have the following obligations:

  • Reveal terms and tariffs applicable to remittance service including their correspondent bank, agent fees and other different types of service they provide;
  • Indicate the estimated time that it will take the money to reach the receiver;
  • The exchange rate that RSPs employed to convert the foreign currency to domestic currency and vise- versa;
  • Facilitate remittance transfer service to their customers and provide the service within 24 hours.

What does RSPs present to NBE to get its consent?

  • Official business license authenticated by the Ethiopian Embassy/counselor abroad
  • Agency agreement signed between RSP and domestic commercial banks
    For further information, please visit domestic commercial banks and their branches or call the contact person as indicated here.

National Bank of Ethiopia
Tel +251 115 517430
Fax +251 115 514588
Email: nbe.excd@telecom.net.et
P.O. Box: 5550
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

The National Bank of Ethiopia was established in 1963 by proclamation 206 of 1963 and began operation in January 1964.

P.O.Box: 5550
Tel: +251 115 517 430
E-mail: nbeinfo@nbe.gov.et
Fax: +251 115 514 588
Avenue: Sudan Street


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