Africa was the birthplace of the mobile wallet in the mid-2000’s, a digital payment revolution that was driven by necessity given limited access to Bank Branches and Banking services. Africa has made great strides in its mobile and digital adoption with some truly world scale success stories like Safaricom’ s MPesa. Airtel Money and MTN recently raised capital at very attractive valuations showcasing the ability of Digital to create significant value.
Sunil Kaushal is the CEO of Standard Chartered, AME. Here he shares his thoughts on Standard Chartered’s journey of digitalisation and Self-disruption in Africa. Sunil Kaushal, CEO of Standard Chartered, AME. COVID-19 pandemic, by stripping us of in-person interactions, has possibly pushed financial services in Africa into a ‘Goldilocks moment’ in which the combination of technology, platforms and customer demographics can result in an explosive growth and lift financial participation especially by providing equitable access to quality financial services especially to women and connecting small businesses to local and regional hubs and possibly even to international markets.
However, as attractive as this African opportunity may sound, it clearly requires financial services incumbents to adopt an intent to self-disrupt and shift their mindsets. Research, and my own personal experience, clearly indicates that organisational inertia is the main reason that many transformations stumble or falter. Many incumbent banking players have set off to digitise their services or launch neobanks but digitising a retail bank (and indeed the overall bank and Banking) in its truest sense is a challenge that very few players have been able to solve. It requires an inflight change not just of technology, but of entrenched structural costs and legacy mindsets of all banks, clients and regulators.
And the challenge is compounded by the expectation of an immediate growth in profitability, which again causes transformation initiatives to get distracted and settle for tactical solutions rather than a truly transformational outcome. The objective of banks ought to be to reinvent and disrupt using technology and digitalisation as an enabler increase in revenue, returns, client acquisition and profits are the outcomes, which will undoubtedly follow if the services and solutions offered meet customer needs and solve their pain points.
Digitalisation and Self-disruption in Africa
To bring the issues into perspective, let me outline Standard Chartered’s journey towards digitisation and self-disruption in Africa. Over the past three and a half years, the team in Standard Chartered Bank in Africa has tried […]