In April of this year I attended CARTES Afrique 2012, and returned feeling very positive about how this market will develop over the next few years!
An Impressive Forum!
For example the executive round table on the future of African Electronic Banking Centres, attracted no less than seven senior executives from the banking industry, with two others participating in discussion from the audience. Their breadth of experience was clear; and this greatly helped to promote strong audience participation so we got to share a great range of achievements and, quite frankly, their concerns.
Key Message – A Common Inter-Bank Arrangement
The overall message was the promotion for a common inter-banking arrangement long with a need for all players to adequately respond to emerging technologies.
A key concern being expressed by speakers and audience alike was the need for all participants in the sector to be reasonably aligned on the strategic selection of new services and technologies. Only with such alignment will the business case be clear, with validation being achieved through early trials or pilots.
An Appetite for Innovation
The appetite for Innovations was clearly in evidence during proceedings and with the market strength and commitment of the electronic banking centre’s any implementation challenges are expected to quickly turn to opportunity.
Speakers from Morocco advised that e-commerce penetration currently stands at 6% but with a strong outlook for growth there is real enthusiasm from the industry and a great desire for innovation. Across Africa there are still lots of opportunities for development but there is a strong need to share effort between countries to cope with the huge task of putting in place infrastructure for electronic payment solutions on a continental basis.
With the supporting technologies evolving quickly the solutions to address the inter-banking challenge will be soluble, but of course for most in mind is the customer need and the ability to really add value.
A Consumer Lead Change
A common theme being delivered though out the conference was that Consumers should be able to dictate their choice and preferences, and not the “forecasters”…
At an industry level the Electronic banking centres will need to work with the banks, governments and also with the Central Banks in order to promote deployment of the rate of access to banking facilities which remains the overriding challenge.
Trust is fundamental and the recognition of the predominant role of the Central Bank is essential to build consumer confidence.
Technology is only a support tool to provide added value to the banking sector. Knowing one’s market and understanding how to integrate different technologies to achieve convergence, is essential.
The Importance of Education & Working Together
The conference also delivered an overtone that message that education will be key element to move these African nations forward with confidence and knowledge of all that is involved for all players.
This education and communication carries both a need and a continuous obligation to exchange information locally and regionally on global developments.
The most positive outcome of this forum was the recognition by the participants and those in positions of influence must meet regularly to face these new challenges together!