If the continent is to offset the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic on the economy and build more resilient societies, President Paul Kagame has emphasized the necessity for efficient and inclusive banking services.
Kagame made the announcement today while giving a virtual Keynote Address at The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria’s 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference (CIBN).
The two-day conference, titled “Economic Recovery, Inclusion, and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance,” focuses on the need to reposition banking and finance as a catalyst for economic recovery, inclusive growth, and transformation.
The event is an annual knowledge, thought-sharing, and solution-based meeting for all stakeholders in the Financial Services Industry, including policymakers, regulators, operators, service providers, academics, and clients.
It serves as a forum for practitioners in the industry and beyond to share their experiences, exchange ideas, and offer practical advice on current concerns affecting the industry and the economy.
In his speech, Kagame stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented banks with an opportunity to lead in assisting societies during difficult times.
“The Covid epidemic has had a significant impact on our economies. However, the pandemic gives an opportunity for Africa’s banks to take the lead in making our society more robust and responsive to our people’s needs, as Kagame pointed out.
“Everything that affects a business has an impact on banking. Financial services are the lifeblood of the private sector. “Banks are critical for sensible and productive capital allocation,” he continued.
Africa, according to the President, has what it takes to make progress. He went on to say that banking services are not only for the wealthy but that they should be available to everyone in order to accomplish economic development.
“Africa does, in fact, have the resources to fund its own economic growth and minimize its reliance on foreign aid. To be competitive, banks must continue to integrate new technology into their operations in order to enhance financial inclusion and access. He added, “Banking can’t only be a service for the wealthy.”
Kagame reflected on the significance of the African Continental Free Commerce Area, which is currently being implemented, saying that it is “providing new prospects for pan-African trade and investment.”
“Banks with a pan-European reach, such as several of the institutions featured here, can pave the road for economic unification. Finally, the banking industry, more than any other, recognizes the value of honesty and excellent customer service. At the end of the day, banking is all about trust. In this regard, we expect to you to set the tone,” he stated.
Governments, according to Kagame, have a responsibility to create good enabling conditions that safeguard both shareholders and consumers while also allowing for innovation.