Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit 2024: Focus on accelerating digital finance in Africa


The acceleration of digital finance, particularly in Africa, was at the center of a panel held Tuesday in Casablanca, on the sidelines of the 3rd edition of the “Huawei Intelligent Finance Summit” 2024.

Dedicated to presenting trends in the financial services industry (FSI), this panel was moderated by El Mehdi El Jair, Regional Technical Director for the financial services industry at Huawei North Africa, who , on this occasion, explained the factors that push financial institutions to transform, to explore new “business models” and also how these institutions can capitalize on technology to achieve their objectives.

Banks are becoming more and more complicated to manage, he noted, stressing that this complexity arises in particular from the evolution of competition in the financial sector, where telecom operators, fintechs, neo-banks, Tech and e-commerce giants are now major players.

In this sense, Mr. El Jair, who cited a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), noted that the transition of financial institutions to digital is not ephemeral. “During the Covid-19 crisis, consumers have been forced to embrace digital financial services, particularly the use of mobile, with a significant proportion of people using mobile for the first time. A BCG study revealed that this change is not transitory, consumers have appreciated this new way of consuming financial services via digital channels and do not wish to return to previous practices,” he said.

According to Mr. El Jair, this new trend will encourage financial institutions to adopt more mobile-centric approaches and invest in technologies promoting the development of digital channels, in response to consumer preferences.

In terms of new economic models emerging, the regional technical director for the financial services industry of Huawei North Africa spoke about embedded finance which separates the production of financial services from their distribution, which allows various economic actors to provide financial services without being traditional banks.

Another innovative model is Lifestyle Finance, where banks offer more personalized services, going beyond traditional transactions to include services related to users’ lifestyle, such as hotel reservations or payment of health services.

These developments, although already developed in Asia, he observed, offer many opportunities for traditional banks seeking to remain competitive in a rapidly changing environment.

Faced with the challenge of financial inclusion, Mr. El Jair estimated that the fintech sector, in particular digital banking, is called upon to play a crucial role in expanding access to financial services, by deploying technologies such as wallets and mobile money to reach these unbanked populations.

This summit was also marked by two testimonies. The first was on how the AI-based e-stock market platform promotes financial education and the second on how to leverage an information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure to support the public key infrastructure (PKI) offering from Eurafric Information, the IT subsidiary of Bank Of Africa (BOA).

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