Minister of Finance and development planning Mr. Thapelo Matsheka

In a move that will ease the registering one’s credentials at any of the Botswana based banks the bank’s association has come up with a novel idea of doing so through an app; the eKYC system.

The “eKYC System”, as it is referred to in the industry, is a simple, yet revolutionary application, which provides commercial banks with online instant verification of “OMANG” or identification documents against the national citizen database.

This is the culmination of collaborative efforts between the Bankers Association of Botswana, Bank of Botswana and the Financial Intelligence Agency in their roles as the industry regulators and the Ministry of Immigration, Nationality and Gender Affairs which is the ultimate owner and custodian of the national repository for citizen identification data.

Speaking at the launch of the application the outgoing minister of Finance and development planning Mr Thapelo Matsheka said this was a welcome development. ‘The utility, speed and simplicity of the eKYC Interface is indeed a marvel and a welcome development.

I am informed that the virtue of this application for both banks and their customers lies between the two attributes of speed and simplicity. Instant search and verification enables faster service provision to customers, thus contributing to overall improvement in quality of service.

By comparison, the old manual verification process which would involve referring searches to the Omang office for validation, with a waiting period ranging from several hours to few days. From a systemic and regulatory perspective, the eKYC Interface stands out as a vital pillar in ensuring that banks adhere to the strictures of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance, which is a critical component of an effective national Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regime.”

He added that the fact that customers will no longer need to present certified copies of their Omang documents when they visit a bank will be a time saver for both customers and the various certifying agencies in government and the private sector, such as the Police, Magistrates, Attorneys, Dikgosi and others.

“The Bankers Association eKYC System project represents just one of the many initiatives that signify exemplary corporate citizenship by the banking industry. You may recall that at the outset of the COVID- 19 pandemic, the banking industry responded positively to complementary fiscal and regulatory measures by announcing a package of cross-cutting concessionary arrangements in support of retail and corporate customers affected by the pandemic.

This was in addition to the generous contributions made by banks towards the Government’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. Over and above these noble acts of good corporate citizenship and philanthropy, and despite the havoc imposed by COVID-19 on the domestic economy since the dawn of 2020, the industry endured the challenge of developing a new eKYC system which came into live operation on the 15 th March 2021.

The system that was being launched was exclusive to banks, it will in future be made available to other financial institutions as a way of strengthening the national AML/KYC regime across the financial sector.

“This proposition is most welcome as it will move Botswana closer to achieving total fulfilment of international AML/KYC compliance requirements as prescribed by the Financial Action Task Force and its affiliated Financial Action Task Force(FATF)-style Regional Body, the Eastern & Southern African Anti- Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG),” said Matsheka.

“I wish to register my commendation to the Bankers Association of Botswana’s collaboration with the Bank of Botswana, Ministry of Immigration, Nationality and Gender Affairs and the Financial Intelligence Agency, which has been instrumental and leading to the success of this launch.

As a result of these healthy collaborations between the private sector and my Government, due attention has been paid to the observance of requisite confidentiality and data security arrangements in the eKYC system interface.”

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