BDO EA Rwanda, one of the largest Audit and Tax advisory firms in Rwanda, together with BDO South Africa last week organised a financial services roadshow that aimed at discussing and seeking solutions to challenges that specifically “keep bank CEOs in Africa awake at night.’
The roadshow attracted officials from Rwanda’s Central bank and other top executives from the banking and financial sector.
Cultural shift and changing business models (digitalization), regulatory compliance, security breaches, continuous innovation, increasing competition, rising customer expectations, customer retention, antiquated applications and mobile experiences have all been identified as key challenges in the banking industry.
Panel discussions, presentations from industry experts, and a general interactive session of sharing ideas and solutions engaged different players in the banking sector, experts in the financial services sector, and the BDO team from both Rwanda and South Africa.
Suggested solutions to the challenges include data collection and management, use of automation and technology, talent management and retention, funding, financial inclusion for the unbanked and underbanked with focus on special groups like women and youth, among others.
According to Nevellan Moodley, a partner and Head of Financial Services Technology at BDO SA, as well as a specialist in IT audits, the use of digital currencies and other digital solutions could be a long-term remedy to most of the sector problems.
He noted that investing in cryptocurrency is still risky, and that there are numerous controversies surrounding the subject. “If you ask me, I will honestly say that there is no way to guarantee total regulation over it,” he continued, “however, if a region, like EAC, or the entire continent decides to create a common digital currency, it will promote greater trade collaboration and financial inclusion.”
Rwanda, he noted, is in a far more favorable position for digital currency. “To date, there have been 4.2 million crypto unique transactions with the Rwanda IP Address.” “There is less stigma and more adaptability here because mobile and digital transactions are already in use in the daily life,” he said.
Kenya ranks third in the world in terms of most cryptocurrency holders, trailing only Ukraine and Russia. According to experts, this places the EAC region in a good place to use digital currency.
Regarding the use of technology in other areas of life, such as distance meters, Moodley raised a reminder that technology is no longer the future but is already present.
In agreement, Pierre Jacobs, Financial Services Partner at BDO SA, emphasized the importance of having women, youth, and underprivileged people well represented in the sector. “There is a need for collaboration at all levels to link opportunities and funding and make data-driven decisions,” he said.
He also commended Rwanda’s efforts to close the inequality gap since the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
Angelique Kantengwa, Partner Corporate Advisory Rwanda, responded, “Rwanda remains open to learning and becoming more informed in areas where we still fall short, like learning more about cryptocurrency and better ways to protect our people, as well as data collection, projection, and management.”
“Despite our progress, we still have a long way to go, and we encourage young people to learn about them, identify challenges, and be willing to step in as we bridge the gaps,” she said.
BDO is a global auditing firm with a branch in Rwanda, providing audit and business services outsourcing which includes accounting and tax advisory services.
BDO EA Rwanda Ltd is part of BDO East Africa, a centrally managed network of offices across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia with 11 partners and more than 250 professional staff.
The firm is also a member of BDO International.
It shares their resources, methodologies, quality control processes, technology resources and also uses their strengths and insights to service clients in neighboring countries such as Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia, DR Congo, through a network of partner firms.