Ethio Lease Appoints Fregenet Getachew Desta as CEO

African Asset Finance Company, a U.S.-based non-bank financial and equipment leasing firm, appointed Fregenet Getachew Desta as acting CEO of Ethio Lease. In this role Getachew Desta succeeds Girum Tsegaye, who left the company to return to the banking industry.

Ethio Lease, which provides capital leases to Ethiopian businesses for equipment in a range of vertical markets, is a subsidiary company of AAFC. AAFC was launched in 2017 to address Africa’s underserved market for equipment leasing and asset-backed lending, with Ethiopia as its first market. Headquartered in New York, and with offices in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, AAFC is rapidly expanding its offerings to several other markets across the African continent.

Getachew Desta, who reports to the Board of Directors of Ethio Lease and is a member of the AAFC management team, will lead all activities in Ethiopia. Building on her experience in the health sector, Getachew Desta will also contribute to the development of AAFC’s medical portfolio throughout Africa.

Getachew Desta joins Ethio Lease and AAFC with 20 years of experience working in different multinational pharmaceutical companies and International NGOs in the UK, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. She has extensive experience in senior management roles establishing new offices, strategic planning, business development, manufacturing, sales, and marketing and communications.

“Fregenet’s appointment buttresses our management team and supports our corporate strategy and Ethiopia’s’ economic reforms, as well as strengthens local businesses by providing access to equipment leasing,” Girma Wake, chairman of Ethio Lease’s Board of Directors, said. “Her broad commercial experience in different organizations, and across numerous countries, will add a new dimension to our organization and help us grow. I look forward to working closely with her.”

“I am excited to join this new sector which I believe plays an extremely important role in serving small and large businesses across Ethiopia and the continent, enabling them access to, and the use of, quality equipment. This directly impacts quality, productivity and growth,” Getachew Desta said.

“Fregenet’s addition will enable our growing senior management team to expand access to equipment leasing strategies across multiple African markets,” Frans VanSchaik, CEO and Chairman of AAFC, said. “Her track record in the health sectors of various African countries will help us establish a strong foothold and grow the medical business across the continent.”

In August 2019, Ethio Lease became the first foreign-owned company in Ethiopia to receive a financial services license from the National Bank of Ethiopia. This license enables Ethio Lease to address the equipment and foreign exchange shortages facing Ethiopia by providing local businesses with access to high-quality equipment, allowing businesses to grow their operations and thereby creating jobs and increasing productivity throughout the country.

Previously, Getachew Desta served as country manager, Ethiopia and Uganda, and later as marketing head, East Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania & Uganda) at the French Pharmaceutical company, SANOFI. She also served as marketing, sales and communications director at the International NGO, Population Services International (PSI) Ethiopia. In her recent role as country manager at Julphar Pharmaceuticals (Ethiopia), she led the import business and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Factory located in Addis Ababa. She also recently served as the president of the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical & Medical Supplies Manufacturing Industries Sectoral Association.

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