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Innovative Strategies and Technologies Driving Access to Finance in West Africa

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By Central Bank of Nigeria’s Director of Development Finance Department, Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan.

The key mandate of the development finance department is promoting access to finance to ensure job creation and sustainable inclusive economic growth in Nigeria.

Dr. Mudashiru Olaitan is currently the Director of the Development Finance Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) charged with the responsibility of implementing the development finance initiatives. His tasks involves the formulation and implementation of various policies, innovation of appropriate products and creation of enabling environment for financial institutions to deliver services in an effective, efficient and sustainable manner.

At the Central Bank of Nigeria we are open to attending conferences like the Future Banking Technology West Africa summit, because it gives us insights into emerging innovations in the financial, banking and technology landscape. It also provides an avenue for us to learn about innovative financial service solutions that could enhance delivery of development finance services to clients in Nigeria.

As the emerging technologies and programs in the region that are increasing access to finance are necessary, The CBN in its bid to increase access to finance has embarked on a number of initiatives such as Establishment of National Collateral Registry for movable assets particularly for MSMEs and reduce the risks associated with lending to the sector. With the NCR Nigeria’s “getting credit ranking has improved from 32nd to 6th Position and the country is adjudged one of the 10 most improved economies. Credit penetration in Nigeria is currently at 3% according to recent surveys by EFInA, as part of the Financial Inclusion strategy, we hope to improve that number to 40%. This initiative will help towards that objective. The second initiative is Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, as Nigeria seeks to roll out 500,000 agents across the 774 local governments in the country by 2020, capture 40 million Bank Verification Number (BVN) and rapidly drive Financial Literacy amongst the unbanked. This is to address the gaps of Agent Network, functional Identity and Financial literacy in Nigeria.

The third initiative is Establishment of a National Microfinance Bank that leverages Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) outlets in rural communities to deepen access to finance. The NMFB will revamp the postal system in Nigeria and make NIPOST agent outlets financial service points across the country. As well as, Introduction of Payment Service Banks – This initiative is aimed at leveraging mobile and digital service to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grass roots. Promoters are expected to have 25% of their location in excluded areas of the country. Also, non-traditional players like the Telcos and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies (FMCGs) can now play in providing Financial services.

The new age consumers of financial services in Nigeria demand convenient, fast, affordable, responsive and reliable products from financial service providers. In responding to these demands, the financial and banking sector in the region have begun to innovate, embark on technology transformation and change internal processes to adapt to the needs of their consumers and compete in acquiring new customers. For us as regulators, our policies most constantly consider and reflect the dynamic nature of an increasingly sophisticated consumer base, while also constantly seeking ways to develop policies that will close the financial inclusion gap.

To describe the future of the financial industry in Africa considering the advent of automation, Artificial intelligence and big data; we must consider the availability of mobile phones in Africa, which has presented a huge opportunity to reach the consumer more than ever. With Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big data, customer insights can now be readily available to address specific needs in specific ways. This will bring strongly to the fore, the issue of consumer and data privacy especially amongst the unbanked.  To harness these potentials, we need to first address the existing infrastructure gap plaguing the region. Also, we need to look at the regulation space in the region such that it is well be balanced and does not stifle innovation.

There have been a lot of discussions surrounding telcos entering the financial space, especially since the CBN launched Payment Service Banks late last year. The primary objective of the Payment Service Bank is to provide Financial services to about 36.6 Million Nigerians who currently unbanked. At the core of the revised National Financial Inclusion strategy are two principles: regulators providing a level playing field, and, promoters playing according to their strength. From the foregoing the intent of this new category of financial services producers is to enable non-traditional players come in and play to their strength with eyes on reaching the unbanked. So, we believe the telcos and the banks have their strengths and this policy will facilitate collaboration for the interest of the stakeholder.

The digital financial services changed over the last 5 years. From our experience, a focus on consumer needs is important to increase usage of these technologies.  There is a need to constantly up skill our staff to enable them to manage digital platforms and processes. Our interest is and will always be on programs that will help achieve of Monetary stability objective while ensuring inclusive growth and economic development.

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Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma

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Written by: Cinzia Nitti

Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.

But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?

What’s the Office of the Future?

Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.

In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?

Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.

About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization. 

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/

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The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021

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The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.

Key Reasons to Attend:

  • An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
  • Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
  • Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
  • Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
  • International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
  • Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East

The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now. 

In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

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DECODING FUTURE HR: Today’s challenges are tomorrow’s trends and opportunities

Global 24 hour virtual event | 19 and 20 January 2021

www.decodinghrevent.com

The world in 2020 has changed to a ‘new normality’ but what’s that ‘new normality’ everybody talks about? Is it here to stay? How is it affecting us in our daily lives in the different versions of ourselves? As a customer, an entrepreneur, a parent, a friend…a worker…

Our job is a key part of our lives and we are indeed living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and jobs, and changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. These momentous changes raise huge organisational, talent and other HR challenges. It has become clear that few organisations are likely to revert to pre-pandemic practices even after a vaccine is found.

Decoding Future HR 2021 is bringing you the ideology of how today’s challenges are becoming tomorrow’s trends and opportunities resulting in HR excellence.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about the trends and best practices shaping future HR
  • Get valuable insights from expert speakers
  • Share ideas and research to help your organisation reach its goals
  • Understand what do employees want in ‘New Normal’
  • Develop new vision for HRBP and Centre of Expertise
  • Identify, integrate and understand stakeholders to create an intentional employee experience
  • Approaches and elements to leadership development.

Some of our confirmed speakers:

  • Tshepo Yvonne Mosadi , Human Resources Director, The HEINEKEN Company
  • Sarah Tabet, Global HR Director/ D&I Leader | Author for “Inclusion Starts with U”, Schneider Electric
  • Wadah Al Turki, Country Talent Manager KSA and Bahrain, IKEA
  • Lesha Chakraborti, Head of HR – EMEA, Travelex
  • Shaban Butt, Director HR & Administration, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Sajjad Parmar, Head of Rewards – APAC, eBay
  • Katey Howard, VP, Talent Management AMESA, Pepsico
  • Chen Fong Tuan, HR & General Affairs Director, Samsung Electronics
  • Prerna Ajmera, Senior Director, HR Experiences and Solutions, Microsoft
  • Václav Koranda, Vice President Human Resources / Member of the Board of Directors, T-System
  • Amy MacGregor, VP Employee Experience, Global HR, Manulife
  • Adwait Kashalkar, People Analytics and Programme Management Leader, APAC, Mastercard

Click here to view all speakers: www.decodinghrevent.com/speakers

At Wisdom we remain positive that ‘normality’ will soon return and that we will be able to physically meet together once again as speakers, delegates and sponsors at our beautiful venues around the world. But meanwhile, life continues and we need to keep in touch and learn from each other. This 24-hour virtual event will be of great benefit and value to your businesses and its continued development during these challenging times. While this virtual event comes at a lesser cost, it provides for now a wider reach into an international audience, with flexibility of access to content as well as allowing you to have the same opportunity as at a face-to-face session for one-to-one business meetings. We look forward to welcoming you in January.

Date and time: 19-20 January 2021Where: Virtual engaging platform
  Further information and bookings: www.decodinghrevent.com        Contact:
marketing@wisdom.events   #WSDM_BI
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