Alice Kilonzo-Zulu

CEO | Ecobank Rwanda

AfricaLive talks to Alice Kilonzo-Zulu, CEO of Ecobank Rwanda, on the role of the banking sector in driving the development of entrepreneurs in East Africa.

Banks should look to deliver their products through digital channels. At Eco- bank Rwanda, we are keen on leveraging mobile technologies. We are looking into delivering the bank to the people through the mobile devices they use every day. We have created the Ecobank mobile app which is designed to deliver services normally given in banking halls, through digital means. Efforts like these are meant to ensure financial inclusivity and expel the notion that banks are only for the rich.

The future of banking through digitisation was best articulated by a friend who lives in Canada. She said that she has been enjoying banking services for six years without having to set foot in a banking hall. That is the direction we must follow as African banking institutions. We must leverage this digital era to gain more customers and to advance our agenda. We are happy to know that Rwanda has a very strong digital agenda, and Rwandese banks are responding positively to this.

We are also looking to make our contribution to the economy through supporting SMEs. Though we have had to deal with a lot of bad loans, we cannot give up on SMEs. The contribution of SMEs to African economies calls for a more robust risk mitigation strategy instead of avoiding SMEs. We have strong partners such as the African guarantee fund which provides risk-sharing services. We can support SMEs better with the help of such strong partnerships.

Ecobank Rwanda goes out of its way to support customers regionally and not just in Rwanda. We leverage on the East African region which is a big market, to attract more customers. We also leverage digital platforms to reach out to them and serve existing customers better.

Full article will launch as part of the Future of Finance Special Report in December 2019.

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