Given the importance of technology for the financial sector, the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) participated in the two-day ‘Dot Finance Africa’ conference recently held in Kigali, with experts in finance and information technology calling for leveraging of financial technology (FinTech) to drive financial inclusion.
The Dot Finance Africa conference is one of the largest gatherings of financial technology professionals. Held under the theme ‘Transforming Africa for the FinTech Age,’ this second edition brought together more than 400 financial industry leaders from 60 countries.
Speaking during one of the panel sessions, Benjamin Nyakeriga, BRD’s Chief Development Officer, noted that thanks to technology, banks can offer a wider range of products and services to their clients, resulting in increased financial inclusion.
While advances in digital financial services are promoting inclusion and creating new opportunities for many people in Africa who are still excluded from formal financial services, the experts underscored the need for financial services operators to develop customer-centered innovations.
Lucy Mbabazi, the Country Manager of Visa, said it is critical for financial operators to innovate around the customer needs as the sector is being transformed by FinTech.
“Every technology innovation can be promising, but those that are interoperable, consumercentric, secure, and tap into the power of mobile phones, are more promising. As FinTech is driving financial services, operators need to innovate around the needs of the people,” she remarked.
Diane Karusisi, the CEO of Bank of Kigali, said digital services are raising the competitive bar in every sector of the economy, including in banking. She added that FinTech has a vital role in driving financial services.
“The financial services field is among the sectors set to be shaken up by digital innovations in Africa and worldwide. FinTech is not disrupting traditional financial services providers but complementing them to meet the needs of unbanked population. It is playing a significant role as facilitator of economic growth to transform Africa,” Karusisi said.
“As a banker, I see huge opportunities in FinTech solutions, which will harness new technologies to lower transaction costs,” she further observed. “With digital innovations, we can also deal with inefficiencies in several value chains especially in agriculture. Banks also have a chance to tap into big data to improve product offerings and access to credit for SMEs and other consumers.”
Read this article and more in issue n° 75 of Hope Magazine.