Ethiopia has a population of about 91.73 million. The African Economic Outlook reports that with the consistent implementation of the poverty-reduction initiatives, pro-poor spending continues to increase (70% in 2012-13) in Ethiopia. As a result the proportion of people living below the poverty line fell from 45.5% in 1995-96 to 29.6% in 2010-11. Access to finance in rural areas is limited, with only 31 MFIs providing financial services to 2.9 million clients as of June 2012.
The World Bank's Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AGRIFIN) states that Ethiopia has a very low rural banking density and consequently one of the lowest financial inclusion ratios in Sub-Saharan Africa, with only 14% of adults having access to credit. Bank branches are concentrated in urban areas, while rural areas remain underserved. Only 1% of the rural population has bank accounts. The 2012 Financial Access Survey notes that the number of commercial bank branches per 1000 Sq. Km in Ethiopia is only 1.53 and the number of ATMs per 1000 Sq. Km is 0.24.
The National Bank of Ethiopia is the apex banking institution, and is responsible for providing licenses, supervising and regulating financial institutions in the country. The country’s banking sector comprises one state-owned development bank and 18 commercial banks.