Banking transition towards digital

Ecobank mobile app demos at the Nigerian launchIn an exclusive interview with managing director and regional executive for the group's CESA region Samuel Adjei, African Review learned in its December issue how the launch of a new cache of digital mechanisms underpins a wider plan to spark greater financial synergies across East Africa

The World Bank's recent prediction that economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to fall to 1.6 per cent this year - it's lowest in more than two decades - has fanned speculation on regional economic health; volatile oil prices continue to sate economists' opinions on how resource-rich African countries may react (at the time of writing oil prices surged after non OPEC oil producing countries agreed to an output cut - ed) and the future is not so clear.

For Togo-headquartered Ecobank Group, a stifled performance across its key Central, Eastern and Southern Africa (CESA) division – which includes Kenya – in the first nine months of2016 resulted in net revenue and profit before tax declines of US$14mn and US$7.2mn, respectively.

"Growth in (the) sub-Saharan Africa region has not been promising this year as all the countries under CESA fall in the sub-Saharan Africa region: we are feeling the impact of an economic slowdown," acknowledges Ecobank Kenya MD and regional executive for the CESA region Samuel Adjei.

In the case of Ecobank Kenya, which acts as a pivotal hub for many of Ecobank Group's regional subsidiaries, it is also grappling with the enactment of a new law that seeks to cap interest rates on credit facilities and floor interest payable on qualifying deposits, says Adjei. This has resulted in Kenyan banks tweaking their performance expectations as they head towards the end of the year.

"For the nine months ending 30 September, our performance remained largely constant compared to a similar period last year, however, we saw a 37 per cent jump in interest income on loans and advances driven by higher loan balances in 2016 compared to 2015," Adjei reveals to African Review.

The full article can be read on page 16 of this month's African Review here

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