Speaking at the Connected Banking Summit in Accra, Ghana this morning, Chukwuma Okpaka, Microsoft Azure Business Lead, Africa Regional Cluster, spoke about Microsoft’s vision for the West African Financial Services Industry.
“At Microsoft, our mission is to help financial institutions grow responsibly and deepen their customer relationships by delivering differentiated customer experiences, modernizing payments and core systems, managing risk and improving risk modeling, combatting financial crime, and empowering employees,” said Okpaka, during his keynote presentation at the event.
The digital revolution is changing how banking gets done. Every bank is eager to evolve, using secure and compliant technology to fundamentally reimagine their business. This is innovation with real impact: changing customer expectations, meeting complex regulations, dealing with new competitors, combating cyber threats, and inspiring a productive workforce.
A report by McKinsey notes that African fintech is emerging as a hotbed for investment, with average deal sizes growing and the proportion of fintech funding in Africa increasing over the past year, bringing jobs and growth to African economies. Ghana and francophone West Africa are expected to show the fastest growth in financial services, at 15 percent and 13 percent per annum respectively, until 2025. It’s notable that all of Africa’s ‘unicorns’, with the exception of ecommerce company Jumia, are in the FinTech sector, and almost all are headquartered in West Africa.
Microsoft partners with the FSI ecosystem to ensure modernisation
Transforming the Financial Services landscape in Africa is a key focus to drive economic prosperity continent-wide. Microsoft and its partner ecosystem help organizations to streamline core systems, reduce costs and risk, while delighting customers and employees alike to spur sustainable growth.
“Microsoft supports financial inclusion by providing the various platforms required to make it easier to attract, capture and retain customers. From internet banking solutions to the necessary back-end solutions that provide productivity tools for employees, Microsoft provides a seamless engagement with customers,” explains Okpaka.
Digital-forward banks are leading the way
The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for change and shifting business priorities, and accelerated existing trends towards digitalization. The rise in adoption of digital banking products during the pandemic has driven banks to expedite their digital transformation agendas as more customers leverage digital engagement channels. Digital-forward banks are leading the way when it comes to investing in digital experiences for high-value offerings such as lending. The pandemic has also spurred the need for financial institutions to adapt to changing work patterns, embracing digital tools for their employees’ communication and collaboration.
Trust is the most important commodity
With fraud on the rise globally, banks are looking for new approaches to fraud protection. The industry is experiencing a level of regulatory scrutiny that is unprecedented in its intensity. Financial institutions that best manage their regulatory and compliance data will be on a path to stronger risk management and improved operational efficiency.
“At Microsoft we are focused on trust, and we adhere to the strictest security and privacy standards in the industry to place banks in control over security, encryption, and governance,” comments Okpaka.
Security and compliance are crucial for sector success
The industry is experiencing a level of regulatory scrutiny that is unprecedented in its intensity. Financial institutions that best manage their regulatory and compliance data will be on a path to stronger risk management and improved operational efficiency. Microsoft has made tremendous investments in the regulatory compliance space to enable its customers and partners to move to the cloud in a compliant way.
Mindful of the multiple challenges faced by the Financial Services Industry, Microsoft has developed Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, trusted cloud to accelerate innovation for sustainable growth. The solution provides capabilities to manage data to deliver differentiated experiences, empower employees and combat financial crime while facilitating security, compliance and interoperability.
“Financial services organizations can unlock new value creation through embedding digital collaboration into workflows, surfacing meaningful data, and tailoring customer service all with trusted capabilities that facilitate actionable insights, drive efficiency and enhance customer and employee experience,” says Okpaka.