Is Africa ready for the Banking Revolution?
“Banking in Africa is still at a nascent stage as we are talking about a continent that still has around 70 – 80% of unbanked population and has tremendous potential to grow. The approach to retail banking in Africa is very different to what one can see in matured markets as the continent is vast and poses a real challenge to traditional distribution models based on branch networks. Technology and new distribution models are playing a vital role in how banking is being brought to the masses in Africa. Indirect distribution models relying on agency, retail and mobile networks seem to be more popular in driving penetration and reach across the 54 African states which are all very different to one another. While some mature markets are still debating these approaches, the actual results on the field in Africa is a tangible proof of their effectiveness in bridging the gap for the unbanked.” – Ashraf Esmael , Chief Executive Officer – Bramer Bank
Ashraf Esmael was one of the key speakers for the 5th Annual Retail Banking Africa Forum, which was held in Johannesburg, last June. The success of the past edition reflected on the region’s retail bankers to rethink their retail strategy in order to give a better customer experience, improved financial services and an alternate approach to boost consumer banking growth.
According to the statistics, 70% of Africa’s population is unbanked which means they don’t have bank accounts and proper access to finance. In South Africa, retail banking specifically sees immense potential because of economic prosperity and the consequent increase in purchasing power, changing consumer demographics, increasing literacy levels, higher adaptability to technology, and growing consumerism.
The retail banking services in Africa has gained pace in the recent years. Africa is determined as a destination with opportunities due to the large scale potential the region has, particularly in providing financial services to the mass population. Mobile financial services and other means of electronic money have always submerged in this market where banks and external agencies are tapping in the region to invest more into providing financial services to the mass population including the unbanked, under-banked and the poorest of the poor.
Africa’s main challenges in retail banking lie within delivering secured banking services, loyalty programs, embedding a customer focused banking to serve clients better across all segments including micro, mass, affluent, SMEs and being more socially responsible and ethical to the region.
Recognizing the pressing need for enhancing the flow of development finance, in the African mainland, Fleming Gulf has developed the central theme of “Delivering Convenient & Affordable Retail Financial Services”, for the 6th edition of Retail Banking Africa Forum. Taking place on the 2nd , 3rd and 4th of September 2014, in Johannesburg this forum will
focus on market trends and evaluating opportunities in Africa’s consumer banking business in order to improve your business profits.
Industry exponents will involve in over 20 knowledge-sharing presentations, intriguing panel discussions and relevant case-studies along with networking sessions to explore growth opportunities in the African banking sector and establishing beneficial business relations.
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