The African banking sector has the opportunity to respond to the economic challenges emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic by playing a leading role in making societies more resilient and responsive, said President Paul Kagame.
Kagame made the remarks during a virtual opening speech at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).
The theme of the summit; “Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance” examines the need to reposition the banking and financial sector as a catalyst for economic recovery, inclusive growth and transformation.
With the Covid-19 pandemic affecting all aspects of economies across the continent, Kagame said it provided African banks with an opportunity to play a leading role in making societies more resilient and responsive to the needs of the public.
“Indeed, Africa has the resources to finance its own economic growth and reduce its dependence on external resources. President Kagame | 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference. pic.twitter.com/kzqciVnRiX
– Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) September 14, 2021
Kagame noted that among the unique roles of the bank is efficient allocation of capital.
“Everything that affects business affects the bank. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial in allocating capital wisely and productively. Indeed, Africa has the resources to finance its own economic growth and reduce its dependence on external resources, ”he said.
He briefed the banking industry on the need to further integrate technology to stay competitive and increase financial inclusion and access.
“Banking cannot only be a service for the elites,” he noted.
Banks also have the opportunity to boost Pan-African trade and investment with the African Continental Free Trade Area which is currently operational.
This, he said, will see banks play a role in cementing economic integration across the continent.
The sector, he said, could offer a lesson to governments about the importance of integrity, good customer service and trust.
President Kagame said the focal point between governments and the banking sector is an enabling environment and regulation that enables innovation.
“Our role as a government is to maintain good enabling environments, to protect shareholders and consumers, while enabling innovation. We expect you to continue to challenge us in this role, ”he said.
The event is an annual forum for knowledge, thought-sharing and solutions for all stakeholders: policy makers, regulators, operators, service providers, members of academia and clients of the financial services industry.
It aims to provide a means for practitioners in industry and beyond to share their experiences, exchange ideas and exchange ideas on contemporary issues affecting the sector and the economy.