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According to the International Monetary Fund, commercial banks in Eritrea—all government owned and operated—appear to be in compliance with prudent regulations. Although the commercial banking sector is largely profitable, mostly owing to income from foreign exchange transactions, the sector is burdened by a high proportion of non-performing loans. Core lending activities do not generate sufficient income to cover operating costs at most commercial banks

The central bank of Eritrea is the Bank of Eritrea (BoE) which responsible for regulating the lending and deposit interest rates while keeping a handle on inflation and other macroeconomic indicators. As of yet the BoE has not been able to control inflation, which has led to tremendous rates of inflation, up to 23%. The Bank’s governor is Beyene Tekie who has been assuming the position since 1997.

Eritrea Banks

At present there are three commercial banks in operation in Eritrea: The Commercial Bank, The Housing and Commercial Bank, and the Eritrean Investment and Development Bank. All banks with the exception of the Housing and Commercial Bank are under state ownership, while the Housing and Commercial Banks is owned by the ruling party the PFDJ. The Commercial Bank of Eritrea is the dominant bank in the country. It owns nearly 80% of all banking sector assets in the country.

At present there are no privately owned banks in Eritrea. Previously The Augaro Bank was in operation but quickly shut down after operations began.

Branches of the Commercial Bank of Eritrea and the Housing and Commerce Bank exist in the larger cities and towns of every Region of Eritrea. The Agricultural and Industrial Bank of Eritrea, the Eritrean Investment and Development Bank has also branches in the major cities of the regions.


The Eritrean Nakfa (currency symbol: Nfk, currency code: ERN) is Eritrea’s currency. It was named after the town Nakfa. The Nakfa was introduced in 1997 to replace the Ethiopian birr at par. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The banknotes in circulation are in 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 nakfa denominations.

The nakfa per US$ rate is 15.04 (2010) and the inflation rate in 2009 was 20%.

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