The Ethiopian Herald Addis Ababa Tewodros Kassa
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Fin-tech application would help improve the financial sector in Africa

The 1st Annual East Africa Finance Summit underlined the need for catching up with financial technologies (fin-tech) application to improve the sector.

Themed: ‘Building Competitive, Cooperative and Innovative Financial Sector in East Africa: Emphasis on Ethiopia’ , the first ever regional financial summit was opened here yesterday.

Opening the summit, Public Finance Enterprise Agency Director-General Dr. Sintayehu Woldemichael emphasized that the summit enhance financial institutions in the region and respective policy makers to learn from others’ achievements, challenges and success stories as well as find ways for working together.

It also paves ways for success by brushing aside challenges of the sector through consolidating public-private partnership, he added.

Assisting the sector with technology is important in line with the swift urbanization, industrialization, population growth as well as globalization and ICT revolution, he said.

According to Dr. Sintayehu, financial institutions are increasing steadily mobilizing huge investment in Ethiopia, thus, developing the sector effectively through technology application is fundamental to maintain a smooth financial system. “The financial system management in the country contributes to the increment of investment.”

I-Capital Africa Institute CEO and Summit Coordination Committee Chairperson Dr. Gemechu Waktola also said the objective of the annual summit is to provide common platform for key players and stakeholders to come together and discuss issues that matter most in shaping the sector’s future development.

Managing Partner of Ernst and Young Ethiopia and Head of Transaction Advisory Zemedeneh Negatu said for his part the summit is vital to assess the financial sector service challenges, strengthening new technological utilization and introducing sustained mechanism. Presently, it is critical to strengthen global financial system competitiveness and effectiveness, he added.

Currently, Ethiopia’s economy is the fourth largest GDP in Africa mobilizing 72 billion USD next to Nigeria, South Africa and Angola respectively, he said.

“If the nation’s economy continues registering this growth, it will be the third African GDP owning over one hundred billion USD,” he remarked.

According to him, in big economy possessing countries, banks merge and become effective and enhance to maintain smooth economy. Thus, the merger of banks is important to consolidate their capital and create secured financial system.

Currently, 17 private banks are operating in Ethiopia, he said.

Abay Bank Share Company President Yehuala Gessesse said currently every private bank in Ethiopia is profitable mobilizing huge capital and noted as the merger should be preceded by adequate studies.

Cooperative Bank of Oromia Share Company President Deribie Asfaw for his part said that utilizing such fin-tech applications like mob-banking is becoming successful in Ethiopia. Thus, the banking sector competitiveness is increasing through rendering a better service to customers, he added.

The summit is jointly organized by Addis Ababa and Jimma Universities, Public Financial Enterprises Agency, i-Capital Africa Institute and Addis Ababa Business Enterprises PLC.

Participants from the East African financial sector, universities and public institutions are attending the summit expected to be concluded today.