Spotlight on West Africa’s banking sector growth in Lagos summit

Khalila Baldwin DirectorFuture Banking Tech West Africa Summit is being held in Lagos, Nigeria, from 23-24 April 2019, showcasing the full value chain of the region’s banking and financial sector to best achieve financial inclusion and sustainable banking sector growth

Around 40 per cent of the African banking customers surveyed prefers to use digital channels for transactions, roughly the same share as those who prefer branches. In four of the continent’s major banking markets, the share of customers who prefer digital channels is significantly higher than the share preferring the branch channel, according to a 2018 report by McKinsey & Company.

Banks can adopt one of four distinct digital strategies to

· Digitally transform their existing operations to increase their share of digital sales and transactions to beyond 60 to 70 per cent on each measure.

· Deliver mobile financial services, partnering with telcos or fintechs, to their clients at a cost below that of the branch network.

· Build a digital bank from scratch as Nigeria’s Wema Bank did in launching ALAT, Africa’s first fully digital bank, in 2017.

· Build an ecosystem or platform of non-banking services.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 44 per cent of the population subscribed to mobile services in 2017. By 2025, the number of subscribers is expected to grow to 52 per cent, and 87 per cent of those subscribers are expected to have mobile broadband access. Results of a recent Global Findex survey reveals significant progress in financial inclusion driven by a new generation of financial services accessed through mobile phones and the internet. Still, with 57 per cent of its population lacking any form of bank account, sub-Saharan Africa remains the region with the greatest potential for the adoption of Digital Financial Services.

Khalila Baldwin, director of the summit, said, “At such an exciting time for the financial space in West Africa, we knew it was imperative to launch an event capturing as many of the dynamic components of this sector as possible. A key focus of the event and many new policies being driven within the region is to ensure financial inclusion is increased across West Africa. We, therefore, wanted to shine a light on the leading strategies increasing access to finance with the top financial stakeholders in attendance.”

The summit focuses on the future of digitising banking services for Central Banks in West Africa. This is as leveraging off experiences of similar regions can aid in the adoption of best financial inclusion practices, as it is becoming incumbent on banking stakeholders to be rapid, yet savvy in incorporating disruptive mobile money platforms, automated banking systems, tailored credit facilities and crypto-currencies for this dynamic market.

Future Banking Tech West Africa Summit includes case studies from nations that had similar stories, which have increased access to finance through changes in regulations such as mobile money licences for non- banks and pushing agency banking.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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