State pledges support for digitisation of financial services

Brian Kariuki

From left: Brian Kariuki (SeamlessHR East Africa Head), Phillip Thigo (Special Envoy on Technology), and Justin Kosgei (CEO and Principal Officer AAR Insurance) during the SeamlessHR Financial Services Industry conference.

Photo credit: Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • In banking, ATMs, mobile and internet banking are replacing the traditional banking hall.
  • Financial institutions use advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour.

Financial firms have been challenged to develop robust data governance frameworks, to ensure that consumer’s data is protected as the country moves towards digitisation, particularly in sectors such as banking.

This was one of the messages relayed during a C-level executives roundtable, hosted by human resource and payroll technology firm, SeamlessHR.

The roundtable, whose purpose was to foster insightful discussions and generate actionable insights to drive sustainable growth and innovation within the financial industry, delved into the factors driving disruption in Kenya’s financial services sector.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya, as the push towards online delivery of financial as well as government services to boost efficiency has intensified, the rate at which cybercriminals have targeted the country’s digital infrastructure has increased.

Speaking during the conference, the firm’s CEO and co-founder Dr Emmanuel Okeleji, emphasised the importance of understanding the disruptive forces at play and exploring innovative strategies to navigate the changing landscape.

Cybersecurity systems

These include investing in modern cybersecurity systems, upskilling and recruiting enough data scientists as well as investing in technologies such as AI, that will not only help to detect fraudulent activities, but also to leverage the power of data effectively.

“Banks and other financial services institutions in Africa must adopt technology solutions to improve business efficiency and operations for growth,” said Dr Okeleji.

He also said banks will always be here, even in 100 years, but the way banking is done will continue to evolve in the coming years as we embrace innovation.

“At SeamlessHR, we built our solutions to help these institutions automate all their business processes, helping them manage their resources better and be more productive. This way, organisations will continue to evolve as the industry expands,” said Dr Emmanuel.

Meanwhile, Secretary for ICT, E-Government and Digital Economy, Mary Kerema, highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting ICT infrastructure that helps bring different services to the populace.

Technological advancements

“The government is working towards making sure that we have a connected country, and hence we are working to grow the reach of fibre across the country which will lower the cost of access,” said Ms Kerema.

The financial services industry is a key cog in transformation, having grown exponentially in recent times as a result of the adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, that are helping the industry to be more responsive to customer needs.

“The growth and adoption of AI has seen the financial services sector be the first one to be disrupted, and rightly so as quite several tasks are repetitive and mundane which is where AI excels,” said Phillip Thigo (MBS) - Special Envoy on Technology for the Republic of Kenya.

In banking, ATMs, mobile and internet banking are replacing the traditional banking hall, which is shrinking in size, with financial institutions using advanced analytics to gain insights into customer behaviour and thus personalise services.

“We need to harness all these technological advancements to aid in everyday development within the Kenyan economy to help the public sector move services closer to the people even as the private sector continues to innovate around these new technological advances,” added Thigo.

Other c-level executives present at the forum were Gloria Akinyi, Chief People Officer -Digital Business, NCBA Bank; Nkirote Njiru, Group Human Capital Executive at Old Mutual East Africa; Charles Washika, Director of ICT and Innovation at Co-operative Bank; Jackie Ogonji, Director of Human Resources at SBM Bank, Justine Kosgei, CEO and Principal Officer AAR Insurance amongst others.