Conference: African technology and innovation banking

[SPONSORED STORY] Banking is changing fast and nowhere more than in the African markets, where growth opportunities are huge with some 250 million households still unbanked, but only for banks with the skills and technology to chase them. Banks are expanding fast across Africa, heralding new competition. Innovative banks are seizing opportunities served up by technology to reach out to millions of new customers and find ways to offer financial services that will help them increase bank revenues, through agency or branchless banking, microfinance, SMME lending, or mobile money, e-wallets and biometrics.
Banking strategies for the future revolve around “base of the pyramid”, “technology convergence”, “cloud” and “inclusive banking”. In order to grow against competitors, banks are moving into technology, from core banking systems, adding a range of user interfaces, including Internet, mobile phones, call centres. In 2011 banking leaders are moving to agency banking and branchless lending. Lessons can be learnt and the future charted for emerging markets, including India, South Africa, Kenya and Malaysia.
Speakers at a top conference “Technology Innovation for Banks in Growth Economies” set for London from 28-30 November include global banking leaders in development, SMME and micro-finance institutions such as Anil Kumar, (CEO of IFMR Rural Finance, India), Yolanda van Wyk (CEO Smart Services at First National Bank, South Africa), Sandeep Indurkar (Head Mobile Payments – Internet Banking and Mobile Banking, ICICI Bank, India). Technology and finance expert speakers include Gerhard Romen (Director Mobile Financial Services Nokia), Dr Tim Kelly (Lead ICT Policy Specialist, The World Bank) and Menno van Doorn (Director VINT Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology). The agenda covers software-banking partnerships, the impact of broadband, government pressures towards financial inclusion, biometrics including fingerprinting, cloud-based technology for banking, e-wallets and banking in growth economies and technologies for scale.
The conference is aimed at banks across the emerging and frontier markets, particularly where their growth will be linked to new customers with growing incomes, also technology experts and banking system vendors, development finance experts, policy-makers and leading commentators.
Together they will discuss potential solutions to challenges such as:
• Poor connectivity – satellites, cable and changing national and regional regulation
• Central and development banks plans to upgrade current ICT infrastructure
• Infrastructure of tomorrow being prepared for the next stage of branchless banking
• Understanding infrastructure needed to support the alliance between telecoms and banking providers
• Can microfinance banks be a delivery channel hard-to-reach regions?
The first day, 28 November, consists of workshops: i) the fast-track on how ICT creates better delivery channels for financial products to reach the unbanked and ii) branchless banking – seize opportunities and mitigate risks.
The conference website gives details and bookings. Or call: +1 212 537 5898 or email: Early bird discount of up to GBP300 expires in 8 days.

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