Covid-19 accelerates economic innovation in Africa


IBM has announced that Covid-19 continues to accelerate the already rapid changes that were happening across the financial services sector in Africa.

Speaking during an IBM Virtual Roundtable to discover how Africa’s leading banks are partnering to drive financial inclusion, IBM’s regional manager Angela Kyerematen-Jimoh said major financial institutions across Africa have selected hybrid cloud and AI capabilities from IBM to unlock digital innovation.

In Kenya, banks have been losing billions of shillings through cyberattacks.

With over 475 million Africans expected to be mobile internet users, digital and mobile play a critical role in facilitating the delivery of digital financial services.

As banks focus their efforts on open innovation, security and high-value services have become important to deliver secure digital banking experiences.

Cyberattacks, mostly targeting payment systems, are now one of the most powerful threats, with more than 82 per cent of the companies having been targeted, according to a 2019 AFP research. 

In the banking sector, for example, account numbers are split into several parts and the different parts are stored into four to five other companies called cells.

For any attacker or insider to access one account, they would have to hack into the four companies’ networks which is difficult.

According to IBM’s Covid-19 future of business study, more than 59 per cent of organisations say the pandemic accelerated digital transformation, and more than 75 per cent of responding executives indicated they expect changed customer behaviour to continue after Covid-19.

Kyerematen-Jimoh said, “In the past year we have seen banks navigate changes brought on by a growing preference for digital and mobile solutions, increasing smartphone penetration and the demand for convenience, innovation, and simplicity from today’s modern consumer.”

As banks across the continent take advantage of the opportunity to provide digital financial services which boost financial inclusion, IBM says it is working with Africa’s leading financial groups to deliver intelligent, cloud-based, digital-first innovation through hybrid cloud and AI capabilities.

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