Banking cannot only be a service for the elites, said President Paul Kagame. He made the remarks during an address at the 14th Annual Nigeria Banking and Finance Conference, which he attended virtually.
Under the theme “Economic recovery, inclusion and transformation: the role of banking and finance”, the two-day conference will focus on the need to reposition the financial and banking sector as a catalyst for economic recovery, transformation and of inclusion growth.
In his remarks, he noted how the Covid pandemic has affected all aspects of African economies, but at the same time also presents an opportunity for African banks to play a leading role in making societies more resilient and responsive to needs of Africans.
Anything that affects business affects the bank. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial in allocating capital wisely and productively, ” he added.
President Kagame noted that, in order to remain competitive, it is necessary to continue to integrate new technologies in the banking sector to increase financial inclusion and access, as banking services cannot be only an elite service. .
He also went ahead to re-emphasize what he has always said about African states that still depend on the West and other countries for their support. “Indeed, Africa has the resources to finance its own economic growth and reduce its dependence on external resources,” he said.
Kagame also noted that the African Continental Free Trade Area creates new opportunities for Pan-African trade and investment. “Banks with a continental reach, like many of the institutions represented here, can lead the way in cementing economic integration.”
In conclusion, he explained how the banking industry, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. The bank is ultimately about trust. We are counting on you to set the tone in this regard. Our role as governments is to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and customers while enabling innovation. We expect you to continue to challenge us on this point, ”he said.
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Edwin Emefiele, attended the same conference, which made a huge announcement. He said: “The Central Bank will establish, over the next twelve months, the Nigerian International Financial Center (NIFC). The NIFC will act as an international gateway for capital and investment, using payment system technology and infrastructure. ”
In Rwanda, current statistics show that although there are still various challenges that continue to put women behind men in financial inclusion, the number of women currently banked has increased from 24% in 2016 to 34% in 2021. .
This is indicated by a FinScope 2020 thematic report on gender on the state of financial inclusion of women in Rwanda which was supported by Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR).
In one of the Access to Finance Rwanda discussion notes, farmers reported that women and men enjoy equal rights and treatment in two financial institutions specified in the discussion note and that there is no therefore no special treatment based on gender, but the results for each group are not equal.
In both financial institutions, women and youth are more likely to use loans to rent farmland as they do not have access to land and they have been helped by removing some of the barriers women and youth face. are faced to access loans.
The conference will therefore focus on how banking can be a service that benefits all Africans, regardless of their financial strengths, by making access to finance for development an easy and smooth process.