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African banking market beckons

The bankingsector’s real opportunity for organic growth is to look for the vast unserved African banking market, says international banking guru Joe DiVanna, who is to head a bill of over 60 experts at a banking technology conference in Nairobi next month.

Joe DiVanna, a world-renowned consultant, researcher, speaker and trainer in innovative banking, will headline the African Banking Technology Conference, to be held in Nairobi from 28 March to 4 April 2008.

Joe DiVannaDescribed as a “polymath” by The Economist, for his cutting edge approach to strategy development, DiVanna directs Maris Strategies, a Cambridge think-tank for business and financial services. He is author of numerous management books, including Redefining Financial Services and The Future of Retail Banking,

He will hold a full-day “Banking Mini-MBA”, entitled “The African Banking Agenda: Innovation, Performance, Service”.

“The dynamics of the unfolding landscape of today’s world financial markets demands that financial institutions learn to excel at innovation in order to compete,” he argues. “In Africa, competition is being redefined as regulatory structures open up to foreign banks. Within each nation, competition for existing customers is also becoming more intense, as banks are often targeting the same customers.

“The real opportunity for organic growth is to look for the vast unserved African banking market. To do this, financial services companies must be innovative in their approach, not only by applying the latest technology and offering different channels of banking, but rather by rethinking their business models to reduce operating cost.

“In addition, innovative African banks can drive new levels of customer service by leveraging technology to an increasing number of market segments, building a brand image that inspires trust and quality.”

This course aims to offer attendees an overview of global banking, including:

• A look at the specificities of the African banking market;
• Strategic thinking;
• An examination of new performance metrics;
• Branding and marketing;
• The importance of market segmentation;
• An analysis of customer services;
• Best practice and case studies;
• A checklist for action.

DiVanna will also be delivering the opening keynote address in the main conference. The title of this is “How should African banks capitalize on current challenges and opportunities in ICT deployment?

He is one of over 60 leading local and international speakers who will be sharing knowledge with banking professionals from throughout Africa during the three-day main conference and five Masterclasses over a full week.

The Masterclasses are as follows:

• “Project Management for Effective Systems Implementation” by Tan Chee Peng, CEO of Team Synthesis, which operates in Mauritius & Singapore.
• “Minimising the risk of acquiring banking technology – An African perspective” by John Nhavira, CEO, Prudential Advisory Service, Zimbabwe & South Africa
• “An Executive Guide to Back Office System Selection” by Mark Sibthorpe, President of BankNews in Canada,
• “Strategies for servicing semi-formal and informal financial institutions: how banks increase reach in under-banked market segments” by Ben Davis, a Senior Associate at Genesis Analytics in South Africa.
• “The three legs of an anti-fraud strategy” by Patrick Cunningham, Executive Director of the South African Anti-Fraud Service.

The main three-day conference will focus on the following key themes:

• Software and systems for productivity and security
• Payment systems: eBanking, cards, ATMs and POS (point of sale) systems
• Banking the unbanked, microfinance systems, mobile banking

Dr Simon Batchelor of Gomos Consulting in the UK, who has recently completed a comprehensive study on mobile projects in Africa, will do a workshop on “Mobile phone-enabled payment systems”.

Leading international and local suppliers of banking technology are backing the conference with leading-edge conference presentations by expert speakers and sponsorship support. Kenya’s Paynet Group is the lead sponsor of the event. Co-sponsors are Technology Associates, Transaction Payment Systems, Postilion and Simba Technology. The “Banking the unbanked” day of the conference is being sponsored by Upaid of the UK, who specialize in mobile payment solutions.

For full details see the AITEC web site at

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The Big Change is a business strategy blog and newsletter published by Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx, a leading technology research organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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