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Africa Regional Partner
Cocktail Reception Sponsor
The annual Euromoney East Africa Conference co-hosted by Central Bank of Kenya returned to Nairobi for the third time on 29 May.
The disruptive power of innovation and its implications for financial services and businesses is being increasingly felt as governments look to diversify their economies, improve regulation and create environments that will allow companies to scale. This is creating immense opportunity for Fintech challengers and innovators and the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Over 200 delegates attended the one-day event which featured speeches and interviews with key financial leaders and top policy-makers. Speakers discussed – and disagreed on - the progress that Kenya and East Africa have made by continuing to embrace innovative and disruptive technology as a tool for financial inclusion through a series of talks and panel discussions.
Dr Patrick Njoroge, governor of Central Bank of Kenya delivered a fascinating keynote address followed by a ‘town-hall’ discussion with the audience. He emphasised that the transformation in Kenya in the last few years has been remarkable and the country should rightly boasts about being the global leader in financial innovation. Financial inclusion in Kenya increased to 83% this year however, innovation for innovation sake is just a vanity project, it needs to answer customers’ needs - he added.
After the governor’s session, we were privileged to hear from CreditEase which is a leading Chinese Fintech conglomerate specialising in inclusive finance and wealth management. Selina Xu, senior vice president of CreditEase took to the stage for a keynote presentation and interview.
Panellists from Pezesha, SC Ventures, IFC, Chanzo Capital and TransUnion then took onto the stage to analyse the reinvention of financial services. Finance is taking advantage of technology and reinventing itself said Joseck Mudiri, senior operations manager of IFC. However, Africa is quite fragmented and we need to be able to create a fostering environment across the countries so that Fintech companies can scale, added Billy Owino, chief executive officer of TransUnion.
Euromoney was also delighted to welcome on stage BFA for a keynote presentation on how to address age-old problems with new techniques. They looked at two major problems that the banks are facing, mining user data and customer behaviour using technology.
On regulation, speakers debated how it should be used more effectively to promote innovation. The panel also explored how governments can create a regulatory environment that actively encourages and fosters original ideas and technological innovation, as opposed to being a barrier. But it also pondered questions about the speed of technological change: was the pace of change too fast for regulation too keep up? Still, the conversation is there and is advancing, said Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, chief executive officer of 4G Capital. The panel concluded that the right kinds of regulations could do wonders to boost innovation.
Highlights of the event also included the keynote interview with Dr Kenfield Griffith, chief executive officer and co-founder of mSurvey who explained to our audience how they are leveraging Artificial Intelligence to disrupt customer experience in the financial services industry; the SME’s panel which re-enforced the importance of innovation for the sector to grow; and the case study about Financing Smallholder Farmers presented by Peris Bosire, co-founder and chief executive officer of FarmDrive.
Our last panel of the day looked at opportunities for innovation and what financial innovation is more relevant to East Africa. During the panel, we asked the audience: is traditional banking dead? However Patrick Awori, founder and chief executive officer of Imaginarium said that the question we should be asking is whether traditional banking is dying. 57% in poll didn’t think traditional banking is dead. Our panel disagreed. Whether there will be any traditional banking in the next ten years is still to be seen however no one can argue with the fact that banks are being disrupted by customer expectations. Maybe, they are being reborn.
Duoguang Bei, president of Chinese Academy of Financial Inclusion closed the conference with an insightful presentation on The Principles and Conditions of Global Financial Inclusion Development.
I would like to thank you our co-host, sponsors, speakers and delegates for making the conference a success. I look forward to the 2020 edition.
Director of African Conferences