C-level executives, leading industry experts, policymakers, and government officials convened at Huawei’s 2021 East Africa BFSI Summit to discuss the current challenges, business opportunities and identify solutions aimed at shaping the future of fintech. In attendance were the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Deputy Governor, Sheila M’Mbijjewe; Chairman Kenya Bankers Association, Mr. John Gachora; CEO, I&M Bank, Mr. Kihara Maina; President of the Enterprise Business Group (EBG) Huawei, Jovan Liao, among other key guests and speakers.
The summit aimed at exploring how financial institutions in different stages of digital transformation can move towards Intelligent Finance whilst presenting experiences across four dimensions including strategy, business, technology, and ecosystem.
As digital technologies, the internet, and mobile communications become more integrated with the financial services industry, financial transaction modes and service models are evolving. Digital, mobile, and intelligent financial inclusion have become significant trends. The growth of fintech has transformed lives and economies, unleashing innovations and propelling an upsurge of financial inclusion across the region.
The pandemic has significantly accelerated growth in the finance sector, with an increase in mobile money transfers, internet banking among other areas. It has continued to stretch our imaginations on what is possible when it comes to digital financial services.
“The pandemic has certainly changed the consumer and business behavior in terms of consumption and subscription of banking and financial service solutions. Most of these changes have been occasioned by new technologies that have emerged and that are sure to be with us in the long term,” stated Mr. John Gachora during his speech.
In today’s uncertain world, finance is slated to play a pivotal role in driving economic recovery. However, in order for this to happen, the Financial Services Industry (FSI) needs technological upgrades, and it needs them fast. Only then can it support other industries to recover, unleash new value, and transform.
“Kenya is very special in what it’s been able to achieve in digital transformation. Going forward, we want to keep that leadership position. Research has revealed that one in ten transactions in the world, on digital and particularly digital payments, is done by a Kenyan,” stated Sheila M’Mbijjewe in her remarks. “We can customize how we deliver financial services to [customers], but at the back end, there can be a big engine that protects the financial system and the individuals and customers within the financial system.”
In this regard, Huawei partnered with Murong Technology, a leading provider globally in digital IT solutions, to provide a wealth of software products and solutions for customers within the financial sector, including banking, insurance funds, and securities, among others. Under this partnership, Murong and Huawei jointly released the digital core banking system, which is a one-stop solution for end-to-end digital banking services. The partnership has also seen the two organizations jointly work on the project implementation and capably development and enhancement within NCBA’s platforms. Murong Technology seeks to expand business across the African market.
In this rapidly developing digital economy, a variety of new services, including, online trading, digital logistics, mobile payments, and remote communications, have emerged and are gaining prominence in the wider national economy, as well as in people’s daily lives.
What does all this mean for FSI? These changes have not occurred spontaneously. They reflect a slew of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) upgrades, which have had a profound impact across industries, including FSI. More and more financial institutions are harnessing the power of technology to ensure that their customers access financial services. This is attributed to the clarity that the future demands the close integration of physical and digital services to more effectively and economically serve customers.
During his speech, Jovan Liao reiterated that Huawei has been engaged in the financial services industry for a decade, serving over 4,000 financial institutions in over 60 countries and regions, including 47 of the world’s top 100 banks.
Ronald Raffensperger, Huawei’s CTO Digital Transformation, noted that based on Huawei’s global experience, banks in Kenya and Southern Africa should begin to move from offering products to becoming platforms. Through the creation of a mobile SuperApp, financial service businesses can “plug in” offerings from other businesses and allow users of their respective mobile applications to seamlessly integrate with the other companies. M-PESA is a good example of the power of this concept and Huawei sees large opportunities for similar concepts.
“By building SuperApp ecosystems, banks can improve their relationship with existing customers, attract new customers, and increase their profits through simplified operation and new revenue streams,” Ronald added.
Like many enterprises supercharging their capabilities through digital transformation, financial firms are leveraging real-time, big data analytics to make faster business decisions and interact with customers more effectively. Banks continue to make significant progress regarding digital transformation, with some banks focusing on the retail business, mobile platforms, or open banking. They all intend to provide agile and security services to their customers and improve customer services.