Congo’s financial sector ‘falling in love’ with ICTs

By Issa Sikiti da Silva, in Kinshasa, DR Congo

The financial sector in Congo-Brazzaville seems to be falling in love thick and fast with ICTs.

To demonstrate that, the country’s banks, microfinance institutions and insurance companies gathered for the second edition of Banking Fair on 9-11 October 2014 in the commercial capital Pointe Noire.

The 2014 forum, convened under the theme ‘Banking through ICTs’, discussed how best they can use and take advantage of the ICTs to, among others, boost the country’s economic growth.

The three-day event was graced by Didier Sylvestre Mavouenzela, president of the Pointe Noire Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

All forms of digital banking, including e-banking and mobile banking, were duly discussed, and pledges to stick to ICTs and seek innovative ways of banking were made to ensure that each one dealt effectively with competition and unpredictable challenges.

Oil-rich Congo-Brazzaville has a population of about 5 million, 54% of which live with less than US$1.25 a day, according to the World Bank. And the banked population is only about 3%, compared to South Africa’s 75%.

Mavouenzela acknowledged this weakness. He told the audience: “The current level of our banked population is an obstacle to our economic growth. Reversing this trend is a struggle that involves all of us.”

 Delegates and speakers all agreed that only an ICT-packed banking and financial sector could indeed reverse that trend, and this includes taking banking and financial services to the people.

 “Nowadays, anybody can carry out financial transactions from a laptop in the comfort of his home,” Amen Kadie, Banking Fair General Commissioner and Khabor Informatique et Communication representative, said.

 “We no longer need to waste time at the bank counters, or move with hundreds of millions and stand the risk of being robbed or shot at, thanks to technology,” she added.

The conference ended on Saturday 11 October 2014.

 

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