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How Mastercard is Playing Role in Using Technology to Promote Inclusive Growth in Africa

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 As the world continues to become more digital, building an inclusive world in which the digital economy works for everyone, everywhere, is crucial.

 

A recent research collaboration between the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Fletcher School at Tufts University highlights the strengths and opportunities of six major countries in Africa for harnessing the true potential of technology to drive inclusive growth.

 

With financial support from the Mastercard Impact Fund, the African Leapfrog Index (ALI)– which was launched during the World Economic Forum on Africa – uses Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa as examples to provide insights on key drivers that could accelerate digital inclusion across the continent.

 

The ultimate aim of the report is to help countries across Africa optimize their burgeoning digital evolutions, in order to accelerate economic development. The countries were selected based on their size, economic growth, the median age of residents, quality of governance, and digital momentum.

 

There are many reasons to be optimistic about the transformational potential of digitalization in Africa.

 

According to the ALI, Kenya, for example, has seen the greatest amount of digital change over the past decade of all African countries studied, and currently has over 80 percent internet penetration.

 

Going forward, the country’s potential to leapfrog will benefit from leveraging this digital change to nurture jobs in the digital economy, such as online freelance, ridesharing, and in e-commerce.

 

With nearly 50 million people added to the labour force in the next few years, most of whom will fall somewhere on a spectrum between digitally sentient and digitally sophisticated, the digital economy is poised to be not just the driver of consumption but also of livelihoods.

 

South Africa, in particular, has been highlighted in the research for its ease to create highly skilled digital jobs, primarily driven by strong consumer demand and an institutional environment with friendly regulations.

 

Expanding the integration and use of digital technologies across all segments of society, particularly to those who sit at the lower end of the pyramid, will help the country tap into the full potential of this environment.

Raghav Prasad, divisional president, Sub-Saharan Africa, Mastercard said “Digitization has the greatest potential to overcome infrastructure barriers to accelerate inclusive economic growth across multiple sectors of the economy.

“Independent research like the African Leapfrog Index equips policymakers and community leaders with data-driven insights to inform economic development; and it can help other key stakeholders across all sectors better understand the opportunity for – and pathways to – digital inclusion on the continent.”

 

The six countries were examined against three primary variables for harnessing digital technologies to facilitate development and inclusive growth.

 

These variables are“Ease of Creating Digital Jobs,”Resilience of Governance and Infrastructure” and “Foundational Digital Potential.”

 

Speaking on the findings of the research, Professor Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of Global Business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University said,“The ALI is intended to help countries and stakeholders in Africa recognise where the potential for technology-led leapfrogging is high.

 

“This means acknowledgingthe strengths of each country and which policy areas are prime candidates for intervention to enable stakeholders to prioritise resources appropriately.”

 

Other highlights include:

  • Leveraging its strengths in governance, digital evolution and mobile money, Rwanda has the potential to benefit from investments in infrastructure, greater internet penetration and online freedoms.
  • With the largest population of all six countries, Nigeria has a major opportunity to leapfrogthrough improving the reliability of basic infrastructure. Continuing to investin reducing power outages and other unintentional disruptions to the internet will be key to Nigeria’s growth potential.
  • One ofEgypt’s primary strengths lies in the ease of creating medium- and high-skilled digital jobs. Continuing to further efforts to drive digital payments and limit the usage of cash will significantly help drive digitalization.
  • Ethiopia has the potential for greatest digital gain from creating strong digital foundations, improving on its low momentum and moving away from its near-total reliance on cash payments, towards digital payment rails.

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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

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Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.

CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider

The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.

Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.

He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.

Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.

He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.

In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.

Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.

“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.

He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).

Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.

The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.

“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.


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Deloitte, Heritage Bank, PWC Urge Internal Auditors to Embrace IT to Tackle Fraud

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Deloite, Heritage Bank Plc and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) have urged internal auditors of banks to adopt the various digital technologies to prevent fraud and annul the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the financial ecosystem.

Speaking at the just concluded 47th Quarterly Meeting of the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria (ACAEBIN), Ifie Sekibo, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, disclosed that for improved banking operations and safer financial system for stakeholders, internal auditors must be dynamic and quick to adopt various digital measures.

Raising the alarming impact of fraudulent activities in the banking sector, Sekibo quoted PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PWC’s) Global Economic Crime and Fraud Survey 2020, revealing that that the total cost of cybercrimes is worth an eye-watering $42 billion, which was cash taken straight off companies’ bottom line, whilst 13% of those who had experienced  fraud said they had lost $50 million-plus.

Sekibo, who spoke on the theme, “Elevating Internal Audit’s Role in the Face of Emerging Risks and Opportunities” organised virtually and hosted by the Heritage Bank, urged, “While it was sufficient for yesterday’s auditor to understand regular and routine banking practices such as credit, treasury, etc in his traditional assurance role, for him to be relevant in harnessing the opportunities in today’s business world, he must become versed in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, fraud management, regulatory pronouncements, forensics etc and having equipped himself, present balanced, objective audit reports to Executive Management while striking the right balance between the assurance and consulting responsibilities.”

In her keynote address, titled, “Elevating Internal Audit Role In The Face Of Emerging Risks and Opportunities,” Ibukun Beecroft, Partner Risk Advisory at Deloitte, noted that the banking industry in Nigeria today has adopted various digital measures to keep the business running and delivering services to the customers but there was need for Internal Audit (IA) positioned to provide the required assurance and consulting services in the face of the changes and attendant risk, particularly increased cyber-risks.

Quoting 2018 Financial Stability Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria, she stated that Banks recorded 25,029 confirmed cases of fraud and this resulted in a loss of N2.21 billion. More than 90% of fraud cases in 2018 were perpetrated via technologically driven channels.

“As Internal Auditors, the knowledge of technology would enable us identify gaps in our core banking applications and other applications and provide relevant recommendations to eliminating loopholes that may serve as an avenue for potential fraud.

She, however, advised auditors on the need to focus on advanced technologies and risk management operations as reflected around the Three Lines of Defense (3LOD) churned out by the Institute of Internal Auditors, which create opportunities for IA and its future role.

Beecroft warned that the ever-changing landscape and evolving risks in the banking industry could render the current internal audit plan obsolete.

According to her, internal auditors should reprioritise the audit plan as soon as possible to provide assurance over the most consequential risks while being cognisant of the impact on operations.

“To take advantage of these changes and disruptions, auditors need to rethink their role by adapting to and embracing change, enabling the IA function to become more agile, nimble, and forward-looking, thus driving change through the 3LOD,” Beecroft stated.

Yetunde Oladeji, Director Internal Audit Services at PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited (PWC), who spoke on the theme, “Elevating IA’s role to meet today’s emerging risks,” advised that the banking sector should be dynamic, prioritse digitization and flexibible workforce strategies as these would determine its ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances to survive and thrive.


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ALAT By Wema Bank Upgrades Mobile Banking App

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ALAT by Wema Bank, as an innovative financial institution,  has introduced its upgraded mobile app – ALAT 4.0- to enable customers to remain connected to do much more. A unique app that provides seamless access to an array of exciting features serves as a platform where customers can personalise offerings to meet their frequent financial and lifestyle needs.

ALAT By Wema Bank Upgrades Mobile Banking App

Being a customer-centric financial institution, the upgraded app serves as a one-stop platform that gives customers the option to create unique experiences for themselves; this includes dashboard personalization where customers can decide to hide and unhide their account balance as well as to display the most frequently used feature on their dashboard.

Mr Moruf Oseni, deputy managing director, speaking on the new upgrade expressed his delight, he said “we made a promise earlier this year to improve customer experience by introducing improved unique features to the app. Based on feedback from customers, a lot of effort was put together to ensure we deliver on our promise to ensure this upgrade affords customers a delightful and memorable service experience”.

As part of the new features is the card control option which enables customers to put a limit on their spending habit and the reintroduction of the virtual dollar card which gives customers the ability to make international payments irrespective of the currency.

ALAT has also expanded loan offerings to goal based loans, salary-based lending and device loan. Customers can also top up existing loan amounts, make part payment during the loan cycle at any time and liquidate the loan before the end of the loan cycle at any given time.

Oseni further added, “For us, it is imperative that customers have access to a flexible and seamless user experience on our platform. In introducing exciting features to the app, we ensured that major lifestyle and financial needs can be met through ALAT 4.0. As a bank, we will continue to create innovative solutions for our customers and solidify our lead in digital banking”


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