[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Financial institutions bank on tech to bolster offerings
East Africa financial institutions are betting on tech to boost their offerings, grow their customers’ portfolio and stay afloat in a competitive market. Penetration of the internet in the region, a tech savvy consumer base and a favourable regulatory framework have contributed to this uptake.
In Ethiopia for example, Dashen Bank has extended its strategic partnership with CR2, as it accelerates its branch transformation programme, a key pillar of its overall digital transformation.
This latest strategic initiative responds to the changing nature of the branch, migrating traditional teller services to digital points of access such as mobile, online and in-branch self-service terminals including the ATM and kiosk.
In Rwanda, African digital payments company DPO Group recently partnered with Bank of Kigali to onboard e-Commerce merchants for the bank, in Rwanda. The new partnership will allow Bank of Kigali customers to access efficient e-Commerce and payments services through DPO Group’s robust platform.
And in Kenya, The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has granted Cellulant a Payment Service Provider (PSP) authorisation in Kenya, enabling the company to expand its payments offering for businesses, banks, and consumers.
The CBK PSP authorisation permits Cellulant to continue enabling businesses to collect payments online and offline while allowing anyone to pay from their mobile money, local and international cards or directly from their bank.
This comes as a Banking Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey by Kenya Bankers Association indicated that mobile Applications (Apps) topped bank customers' preferences in 2021, reinforcing a sustained uptake of contactless banking solutions that gained fresh traction in 2020 following the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the region’s health sector, The Aga Khan hospitals in East Africa have received €2.3 million grant from Proparco to increase access to healthcare services by boosting oxygen supply and supporting needy patients with quality care.
The grant will benefit the Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi and the Aga Khan Hospitals in Mombasa, Kisumu and Dar Es Salaam including 94 outreach and medical centres of the Aga Khan Health Services in Kenya and Tanzania.
On matters agribusiness,The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Subregional office for Eastern Africa and Agricycle Global Inc. agreed to work together in nurturing youth groups in Kenya, and refugees and host communities in Uganda in the development of fruit and vegetable value-chains.
Areas of collaboration include capacity development for youth on fruit and vegetable value chain development; of safety standards and fruit and vegetable-related agribusiness; documentation of youth empowerment business models; transfer of knowledge and skills for adoption of technologies and equipment for fruit drying; and publishing of best practices.
At the same time, Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete this week embarked on a field tour of agriculture projects that are supported by AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa) and partners in the country.
AGRA has been supporting Tanzania’s agriculture, since 2006. This has seen significant investments made across the ecosystem to the tune of US$8.7 million. Work has included developing crop varieties, training scientists and research infrastructure, strengthening extension services, providing market, and financing linkages, supporting agro-dealers and the government’s policy reforms.
And Sistema.bio this week announced the close of $15.6 million Series B investment round that included a mix of equity, debt and non-dilutive capital to support the continued growth and scale of the company’s innovative waste-to-energy technology and business model in Kenya.