Banks urged to digitise and be resilient post Covid-19

Friday, June 5th, 2020 21:57 | By
Liao Yong,
Liao Yong, vice president of Huawei Southern Africa Region

Huawei's vice president of Huawei Southern Africa Region Liao Yong has asked bankers to digitise the sector to build resilience against Covid-19 pandemic.

He said this would enable sustained growth in the post Covid era.

Speaking during the Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa Financial Services Industry Online Summit 2020 to 1200 delegates, he said advances in ICT present unique opportunities for the banking sector, especially when almost 70% of the region’s population don’t have a bank account. 

“All of these ICT advances will be critical enablers to a thriving banking sector in Sub Saharan Africa. As we can see, the merging of these two curves of ICT and banking services is powerful. But how much we can unleash the power, depends on how much and how soon banking sector goes digital.” Liao said.

There has been a rapid uptake of mobile technologies in the region with strong economic growth in the past 2 decades. According to statistics by GSMA, 4G, mobile broadband technology, adoption will overtake 2G in 2023 and the total of unique subscribers in Sub Saharan Africa will reach 600 million by 2025, representing half the region’s population.

Speaking at the online event, Brett King, author of Bank 4.0, a New York-based mobile banking startup, said the behavioural changes that come with coronavirus further underpins the needs for digital transformation in banking sector.

 “The declining use of physical branches is likely for many customers to remain a permanent feature of their lives. This basically brings us to a new model of banking…we moved to this low friction banking embedded in the world around us,” said King.

“We need to restructure banks’ ICT platforms from legacy architecture to cloud-based, open architecture by building AI-Powered and Data-Driven platforms to expand the way financial institutions engage and interact with their customers, and accommodate more innovative business models and service scenarios,” Chen said.

Banks from the region shared some case studies on digitisation in banking services in the region.

According to Alex Siboe Wekunda, head of DFS, KCB, said 97% of all transactions are done digitally which lead to substantial growth during the pandemic. Luckily enough, we had invested well in our platform, so we're able to handle the traffic that comes through this ecosystem.

Joshua Oigara, CEO and MD, KCB Group PLC, said KCB will continue to accelerate that investment beyond the just lending platforms, which has been very successful.

Huawei works with over 1,000 financial institutions globally, including 6 of the world’s top 10 banks in the digital transformation voyage.

Liao concluded, “Our operations of over 20 years in Sub Saharan Africa enables us to think global and act locally by providing our clients in the region with tailor-made solutions to make digitisation process painless and smooth as if it is a tech company that happens to work in the financial sector rather than as a bank that tries to adopt disruptive technologies.”

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