Banking can’t just be a service for elites - Kagame

President Paul Kagame has stressed the need for efficient and inclusive banking services, if the continent is to mitigate effects of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and ensure more resilient societies.

Kagame made the revelation today as he delivered a virtual Keynote Address at the 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference organized by The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Themed “Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance,” the two-day gathering focuses on the need to reposition the Banking and Finance Industry as catalyst for economic recovery, inclusive growth and transformation.

The event is an annual knowledge, thought sharing, and solution-based forum for all stakeholders: policymakers, regulators, operators, service providers, members of the academia, and clients in the Financial Services Industry.

It provides a medium for practitioners within the Industry and beyond to share experiences, exchange ideas and proffer pragmatic insights on contemporary issues affecting the sector and the economy.

As he delivered remarks, Kagame said that COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for banks to take the lead in helping societies during trying times.

“The Covid pandemic has affected every aspect of our economies. But the pandemic also presents an opportunity for Africa’s banks to play a leading role in making our societies more resilient and more responsive to the needs of our people,” noted Kagame.

“Whatever affects business, affects banking. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial for allocating capital wisely and productively,” he added.

The President said that Africa has what it takes to attain desired progress. He further stated that banking services are not meant for elites but rather should be inclusive to achieve economic development.

“Indeed, Africa has the resources to fund its own economic growth and reduce dependence on external resources. To stay competitive, there is the need to keep integrating new technology into banking to increase financial inclusion and access. Banking can’t just be a service for elites,” he stated.

Kagame reminisced on the importance of the African Continental Free Trade Area under implementation noting that it ‘is creating new opportunities for pan-African trade and investment’.

“Banks with continental reach, like several of the institutions represented here, can lead the way in cementing economic integration. Finally, the banking sector, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. Banking is ultimately about trust. We look to you to set the pace in this regard,” he said.

Kagame said that governments have the role to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and consumers, while allowing for innovation.