2019th was a great pleasure for me to co-host, alongside my counter-parts from the Kenya Institute of Bankers and the Uganda Institute of Banking and Financial Services, East Africa’s regional financial services providers during the recent week from 12th to 16th August, 2019.
The East African Banking School being a regional annual financial services conference organised jointly and jointly co-hosted by the Institutes of Bankers of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, we were fortunate to have good representation from Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan as well as Tanzania.
In fact this year was unique in having representation from beyond the East African region, reaching Nigeria in West Africa as well as Dubai and India and the United States of America. Put simply, the 19th East African Banking School had the makings of a Pan-African or perhaps global finan-cial services conference!
Delegates who attended the bank-ing school hailed from various insti-tutions across the region and namely: World Bank Tanzania; Peoples Bank of Zanzibar (PBZ); Bank of Tanzania (BoT); Central Bank of Kenya (CBK); CRDB Bank PLC; KCB Bank; Bank of Uganda (BoU); TPB Bank; Ministry of Finance Uganda; Pride Microfinance; Barclays Bank Tanzania; Centenary Bank Uganda; Azania Bank; Stanbic Bank South Sudan; Letshego Bank Tanzania; DTB Bank; Exim; Institute of Finance Management Tanzania (IFM); NMB Bank PLC; NBC Bank; Stima Sacco Soci-ety LTD; AML Finance Limited and UBA Bank among others.
While it is widely appreciated that unpacking “ethics” during the five-day financial services conference can be considerably tedious, our speak-ers were ready and able to rise to the challenge.
Monday started with a resounding affirmation by the BoT deputy governor Dr Bernard Kibesse of the importance of ethics in today’s digital era of financial services.
During his inaugural address to the congregation of 100 delegates the deputy governor in charge of Financial Stability and Deepening emphasized the need to protect the consumer of financial services through an equally “cuttingedge” regulatory environment.
The deputy governor also mentioned the Bank Of Tanzania project to provide a single payments platform for all services providers as a step towards providing a more secure transacting environment for all financial services consumers. But the day did not end here.
During the second half of Mon-day morning we hosted two speak-ers who were not bankers but rather technology developers and solution providers for payments and opera-tional transformations.
These were the founder and chief executive offic-er of Selcom Tanzania, Mr Sameer Hirji and GIEOM’s John Santhosh.
Monday afternoon also kick-started a three day workshop on “Economic Capital and the Assessment of Capital Adequacy” provided by Kentara Analytics, a US based company that supports lenders in reducing systemic risks such as loan mispricing and proper stress testing of their credit management frame-works.
Tuesday’s speakers, hailing from KCB Kenya and BOA Bank Tanzania, focused on cyber security risks and customer-centrism in the digital era of financial services. Both speakers gave very useful tips and guidelines to delegates as well as illustrious case studies of the success and failures of different approaches towards managing cyber security risks and improving operational efficiency.
Wednesday was a day for social networking among the delegates. The co-hosts took the delegates on a tour of Arusha National Park. Being the start of the tourist high season in Arusha, participants were able to see nature and wildlife in its abundance. As can be expected this excursion provided a good basis for delegates to connect and start building long lasting conversations on the challenges and opportunities in the region. By seeing nature’s magnitude and potential, delegates were able to frame their industry and professional environments in a similar context, by looking at the magnitude of groundbreaking innovations that have been achieved so far and the potential for transformation going forward.
Thursday was by all means “Ethics Day” and it was led by two highly skilled and experienced corporate governance professionals, Dr Irene Isaka (Lecturer at IFM) and Ms Neema Msussa (Partner at EY). The two speakers sparked considerable debates on the relativity of ethics to good corporate governance practices and resoundingly tasked delegates to reflect on the most effective “starting point” for instilling ethics in modern financial services.
Friday’s banking school brought together all of the thematic topics under two key presentations: Artificial Intelligence and Consumer Protection. We were fortunate to have the discourse on Artificial Intelligence led by security expert Gregory Almeida, CEO of Swordfish. Consumer Protection, being a key component of ethical practice, was supported by two speakers, Yusto Tongola, a former Central Banker and lawyer, who presented the Tanzania case study and Usman Isiaka, Chief Service Officer (CEO) of UBA Bank Tanzania, who benchmarked the Nigerian and regional experiences in building an effective consumer protection framework.
In line with being a rich and diverse financial services conference, the 19th East African Banking School was sponsored and technically sup-ported by CRDB Bank PLC, CBA Bank Tanzania, UBA Bank Tanzania, GIEOM, and the USAID sponsored Enabling Growth through Invest-ment and Enterprise (ENGINE project).
The contributions made by our sponsors and partners during this week-long event are noteworthy and also testimony to the cohesive nature of financial services profes-sionals in addressing the challenges and opportunities that prevail upon the industry and the African continent.