NAIROBI, Jul 16 — President Uhuru Kenyatta has said Kenya will continue leveraging on new technologies to deepen financial inclusion and enhance service delivery.
He said the country is registering impressive successes in the deployment of technological solutions in various sectors of the economy especially in financial inclusion and in enhancing efficiency in the delivery of public services.
“Riding on mobile phone financial services, access to financial services in Kenya has more than tripled from 26 percent in 2006 to 82 percent in 2019,” President Kenyatta said.
The President spoke Monday evening at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies in Ruaraka, Nairobi County when he delivered the key note address at the ongoing inaugural Afro-Asia FinTech Festival.
The two-day financial technology (Fintech) conference is the first of its kind globally and is jointly organized by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and brings together thousands of delegates from Africa and Asia.
The Head of State called on Africa and Asia to work together to build more robust digital economies adding that Kenya is open to work with other governments and private bodies in leveraging innovations for technology driven financial inclusion.
While citing several of Kenya’s leading innovations among them MPesa, the President said the country will continue leveraging on technology to enhance its tax collection through the iTax and provision of services to the public through the e-Citizen platforms.
He listed several other Kenyan innovations such as M-KOPA, a service delivery innovation in the power and lighting sub sector that has enabled many rural households to receive solar lighting gadgets.
President Kenyatta also talked about M-Akiba, which provides a savings mechanism for ordinary Kenyans who can save a dollar a day, and at the end of 30 days invest in government securities.
“For my Government, our key motivation in rolling out this product was to democratise access to financial services and to give a space at the heart of the financial system to every Kenyan no matter their location, social or economic status,” the President said.
The President also spoke about Stawi, whose pilot was launched in May 2019, that targets to provide MSMEs with an ‘anytime-anywhere’ product that leverages on both traditional and non-traditional sources of credit information, particularly digital payment footprints arising from mobile money transactions, in order to allow banks to form an accurate credit appraisal of enterprises for the purposes of credit rating.
“The use of big data and artificial intelligence that the product (Stawi) is built on in effect de-risks the MSMEs and enables the reduction of credit cost,” President Kenyatta said.
Delegates attending the seminal conference include inventors,entrepreneurs, technology scholars, researchers, media and university students drawn from 30 countries spread across five continents.
President Kenyatta said digital economies will help Africa expand opportunities to bring prosperity for more people.
He called on Asian governments and companies to partner with Africa to build stronger digital bridges between the economies of the two continents.
“Africa is open for business and we urge you to join hands with us in building a better and more prosperous World for All our People,” said the President.
President Kenyatta also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CBK and MAS to co-develop “foundational infrastructure on identity,data and electronic Know-Your Customer procedures (e-KYC).”
Identity and e-KYC are critical prerequisites to enhancing financial inclusion while ensuring financial integrity at both national and cross-border levels.
“This initiative between our two Central Banks aligns well with the ongoing drive by my Government to introduce a ‘‘single source of truth’’ digital identity,” he said.
The President encouraged more public and private sector partnerships to drive the growth of digital technology, a sector where Kenya plays a global lead role.
“It is only through such public and private sector collaborations and partnerships that we can build truly robust and resilient digital economies that leave no one behind and score astounding accomplishments for our citizenry,”the Head of State said.
More than 20 Singaporean companies are part of the delegation from Singapore led by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.
During a plenary presentation, Mr Shanmugaratnam talked at length about the benefits of globalization which aims at “growing the pie” for the largest number of people.
He said the FinTech summit is a unique conference focusing at giving opportunities to many entrepreneurs at the bottom of the financial radar.
“FinTech focuses on what the neglected segments of our people can do by offering them opportunities,” said the Singaporean minister.
Others who spoke at the summit included CBK Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge and National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
Mr Rotich said the iTax and e-Citizen plaforms had greatly improved efficiency of service delivery in terms of of time and the range of services offered.
Besides the main conference, participants have an opportunity to visit exhibition booths by Kenyan and international companies where several top notch innovations are being showcased.