The banking sector needs to develop more innovative products, if it is to retain its position as the preeminent provider of inclusive financial development for Kenya and other developing economies in Africa.
This is one of the conclusions from research that has been presented at a symposium on inclusive financial development, convened by the Kenya Bankers Association’s Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy that has been held at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies today.
Banks need to constantly innovate and provide services that meet the needs of today’s households and businesses. These customers run their finances from their phones, are not loyal to traditional financial institutions and will happily look for alternative sources of finance.
The conference has particularly looked at how well innovation in the banking and wider financial services sector is meeting the needs for greater access to finance for important SME sectors such as agriculture. The event has also explored ways the banking sector can continue to deliver inclusive financial development and sustainable economic growth in areas beyond innovation.
Speakers discussed other issues identified by research that need attention by banks in order to sustain and improve inclusive financial development. These included the role and limitations of the interbank market and its function in self-regulating the market; and the extent to which cross border banking in Africa is robust enough to continue to drive inclusive financial development at a rate that Africa needs.
Leading researchers from the United Kingdom, Canada and Africa have presented their perspectives on how optimum levels of inclusive financial development and growth can be achieved. The symposium has also shared new insight from recent research on the banking sector in Kenya and comparative case studies of other African economies.
“Participants are wrestling with the research findings to reach consensus on the best ways forward for greater inclusive financial development, that can be provided by Kenya’s banking sector today,” said Habil Olaka, the KBA’s chief executive officer. “The research arising from this symposium will provide a blueprint for the banking industry to support the economy’s progress and achieve the greater levels of inclusive financial development needed by Kenya,” added Mr Olaka.
Attendees included senior banking executives, regulators, private sector practitioners and researchers. The Central Bank of Kenya Governor, Dr. Patrick Njoroge, who officially opened the forum.
Key speakers included Professor Victor Murinde, AXA Professor of Global Finance, SOAS University of London, Professor Issouf Soumaré, Professor of Finance, Laval University, Quebec, Canada and Professor Robert Lensink, Professor of Finance, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
Symposium participants will use the opportunity to shape current and future research on the banking sector in Kenya.