The first decade of the new millennium has probably been the most traumatic ever for the international banking industry. Added to that, the African region’s mobile banking boom opens up a wide range of new security threats for the industry. And from a commercial point of view, the banks are under siege – on the one hand by mobile operators who have stolen the initiative from them in mobile banking, and on the other hand by microfinance institutions, who are leading the way in banking the unbanked.
All these dynamics provide a rich source of content for this year’s Banking & Mobile Money COMESA conference taking place in Nairobi over 24-25 February 2010. Over 80 international and local banking, microfinance, mobile payment and data security experts will be making presentations in plenary and specialist track sessions, sharing their knowledge with colleagues from the region’s financial services sector. The theme of the conference, “Leadership through Innovation” reflects the leading position the region has assumed in banking innovation, particularly in mobile banking and money transfers. The programme aims to inspire bankers and others in the financial services sector to achieve even greater levels of innovation.
Although Kenya escaped the worst of the international financial meltdown, there are important lessons to be learnt in terms of governance, security and credit management and these topics will be covered in the Risk Management track.
Another major focus of the conference is mobile banking and over the two days of the conference 13 innovators and practitioners in the region’s mobile money explosion will share their experiences in rolling out their services – as well as their visions for future development.
The conference will be opened by Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon Uhuru Kenyatta. The opening session will also be addressed by Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, who will be sharing the Bank’s vision for the future evolution of the financial services sector.
The event has the backing of key stakeholders in the sector, including the PayNet Group as platinum sponsor – a position it has held since the conference was launched as an annual event three years ago. Other sponsors include Sun Microsystems, Technology Associates, S1, Copy Cat, Mobicash, Kenya Data Networks, Smoothtel and Misys. Supporting organisations include The Kenya Bankers Association, the Kenya Commerce Exchange Service Bureau, Grameen Foundation, The Kenya ICT Board, The Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya and the International Association of Money Transfer Networks.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will hold a Breakfast Briefing on the second day of event, focussing on “Success factors in Mobile Banking”. Sean Moroney, Chairman of AITEC Africa, the organisers of the event, said: “We are delighted to have support from organisations like the Gates Foundation in our endeavour to provide a powerful educational platform for the banking sector, to inspire future innovation in banking the unbanked and delivering improved services for clients and every level.”