Opportunities and challenges for the banking sector in Sub-Sahara Africa

Theunissen, George Muller (2006-04)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2006.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The lack of development and growth are characteristics of the Sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) region . Globally there are huge concerns about this and there are various initiatives to address the under development and poverty in this region. The most important of these initiatives, is the United Nations' Millennium Goals. In focusing on SSA, various challenges can be highlighted that impact negatively on the business (especially the banking) environment. These challenges are spread across the whole spectrum of spheres of influences, namely from the political to the economical environment on the one side to the social and technological environment on the other side. The region is in desperate need of help with regard to their development. These challenges are unfortunately huge obstacles for prospective investors. Many of the multi national (including South African) banks have identified the region as an area where they can reap high returns on their investments, whilst maintaining and even increasing their presence. In most cases the South African banks are focusing on expanding their involvement in the region but they must realise that they will not only have to compete with the local banks but also with the bigger role players in global banking. Unfortunately the existing multi-national banks have already captured the corporate market. New entrance and expansions will have to target the SMME and large retail markets that carry more risk and will be more challenging to service due to the lack of infrastructure in especially the rural areas. Many opportunities exist for South African banks in the SSA region. The dominant features of these opportunities are the leveraging off their South African operations and building on their experience in handling change and re-engineering of the banking sector. Existing product- and service offerings can be adjusted and rolled out to the region. Creativity will play an important role in assisting in the development of the region. Partnerships with local businesses and the community can assist to mobilize the lower end of the market and capture huge un-banked population. This will generate huge transaction volumes that will spread the cost and contributes to acceptable returns on investments. The involvement of the South African banks will have implications for all the stakeholders in the region. The most important aspect is finding a balance between the needs of the different stakeholders. The benefits stemming from this will contribute towards the region's escape from the deadlock of poverty. Although there are many challenges, the opportunities of extending into the undeveloped market must be seen as outweighing it. The key to success lies in the approach of the banks toward the SSA region and their ability to be seen as partners in developing the region.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die gebrek aan ontwikkeling en groei is kenmerke van die Sub-Sahara Afrika (SSA) streek. Wereldwyd is daar groot besorgdheid hieroor en verskeie inisiatiewe is geloods om die onderontwikkeling en armoede aan te spreek. Die heel belangrikste hiervan is die Verenigte Nasies se Millennium Doelwitte. Die fokus op die SSA streek lig heelwat negatiewe uitdagings vir die besighede (veral die bankwese) omgewing uit. Die uitdagings strek oor die volle spektrum van die ekonomiese aktiwiteite, naamlik vanaf die politieke tot die ekonomiese omgewing aan die een kant tot by die sosiale en tegnologiese gebiede aan die ander kant. Die streek smeek vir hulp en ondersteuning in die ontwikkeling daarvan. Die voorgenoemde uitdagings is groot hindernisse vir voornemende beleggers. Baie van die multi-nasionale (insluitende die Suid Afrikaanse) banke het die streek geidentifiseer as 'n gebied waar hulle hoe opbrengste kan verdien op hul investering en waar hul teenwoordigheid behou en selfs vergroot kan word. Die meeste Suid- Afikaanse banke wil hul teenwoordigheid vergroot, maar hulle moet besef dat hulle nie net teen die plaaslike banke moet kompeteer nie, maar ook met die bekende internasionale banke. Die internasionale banke is ongelukkig reeds goed ingegrawe in die korporatiewe mark. Nuwe toetredes en uitbreidings sal op die kleinsake ondernemings en groot klein handel mark moet fokus. Die mark segmente het hoer risiko profiele en is ook uitdagend om te diens as gevolg van die gebrek aan infrastruktuur in veral die plattelandse streke. Baie geleenthede vir die Suid Afrikaanse banke bestaan in die streek. Die belangrikste hiervan is die geleentheid om te steun op hul Suid Afrikaanse aktiwiteite, asook om te steun op hul ervaring ten opsigte van hantering van verandering en die herontwerp van die prosesse in bankwese. Bestaande produkte en dienste kan aangepas en uitgerol word in die streek. Kreatiwiteit sal egter 'n groot rol speel in die ontwikkeling van die streek. Vennootskappe met plaaslike besighede en gemeenskappe sal help om die onderste deel van die mark te mobiliseer en die groot getalle kliente wat nog nie van bankdienste gebruik maak nie te bereik. Dit sal bydra tot groot transaksie volumes wat die koste per transaksie sal verminder en aanvaarbare opbrengs op belegging sal gee. Die betrokkenheid van die Suid-Alrikaanse banke sal 'n invloed he op alle belange groepe in die streek. Die belangrikste sleutel tot sukses is om 'n balans te vind tussen die behoeftes van die verskillende belange groepe. Die voordele wat hieruit spruit sal die streek help om van die wurggreep van armoede te ontsnap. Alhoewel die onderontwikkelde markte baie uitdagings het, word dit oortref deur die geleenthede wat dit bied. Die sleutel tot sukses is die aanslag van die banke en hul vermoe om gesien te word as vennote in die ontwikkeling van die streek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50624
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