Categorized | Business

BANKSETA expands its wings to the African continent

The world economies are growing at a subdued rate, on average the gross domestic product (GDP)  of 3.6% according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) figures for 2017. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report for 2017 states that the economic risks that countries  have to  navigate through  include fiscal crises, unemployment and potential failure of financial mechanisms or institutions.

Sturdy financial institutions, especially banks, play a key role in providing solid financial mechanisms for economic growth. In South Africa, one of the key institutions advancing the quality of banking services with respect to skills development is the Banking Sector Education and Training Authority (BANKSETA).

The organisation’s mission is to develop skills in the banking and alternative banking  sectors. The organisation’s role includes  encouraging  employers to create work-integrated   learning environments in banks. The BANKSETA  offers programmes that empower individuals in the sector to acquire new skills and find opportunities to improve their skills and to uplift their careers. As a result, they promote transformation through investments in workplace education and training.

BANKSETA  goes a step further, by promoting dialogue nationally, in Africa and globally  to facilitate the growth of the banking sector. The BANKSETA is invested in  hosting events  at which  leaders in banking can share   expert information on the state of banking and how it needs to continue evolving to promote economic growth.

This year, the BANKSETA  hosted   its sixth international conference at which a panel of banking experts from Senegal, Mauritius, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa,  Nigeria, Lesotho, Seychelles, Namibia, Tanzania, Swaziland, Ghana  and Zimbabwe embarked on a learning journey  in  Senegal,  Zambia, Mauritius and South Africa  as part of the BANKSETA African Executive Development Programme. The expert panelists shared insights on what the African continent has to offer in terms of banking services, addressing some of the unique challenges on the continent and innovations that the continent can offer  in Africa and globally . The discussions also looked at banking in its current form and how technology will impact on the sector by offering new opportunities.

Martin Mahosi, Chairperson of the BANKSETA Board, is proud of the impact the   programme and the resultant conference, “We had an opportunity to interact with our counterparts from Zambia, Mauritius and Senegal and to share  our experiences relating to banking across African countries.  We were exposed to   new information, learnt   about and from each other’s challenges and shared ideas  on how we can improve banking services  in our respective areas”.

Mahosi states that is  often  it is challenging is to bring all continental experiences into one seating , however he is  quite content that the different regions of the continent are involved and there was a  sa lot of learnings derived at the  conference. “It is almost impossible to sum up Africa into four countries, but we are comfortable that there is enough in diversity in terms of the characteristics of the all the regions on the continent. We also hope that such events take place  annually as  that would present an opportunity for the BANKSETA to interact with other countries and to brainstorm ways to further improve the banking sector in relation to skills development and services,” added Mahosi.

According to Mahosi, BANKSETA through its work and discussion platforms plays a major role in changing perceptions that banks are unapproachable, elitist and intimidating. “Our work is to promote inclusivity and  to give  individuals within the  banking  sector an opportunity to advance themselves.” explains Mahosi.

BANKSETA  plays a pivotal role in ensuring that Commerce   students   complete their university studies though its bursary programmes. The organisation also collaborates with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and universities to jointly improve the quality of the degrees in line with the evolving challenges of the financial sector.

“We also work with universities to encourage students to become entrepreneurs and this is key to dealing with the challenge of unemployment”, adds Mahosi. As a key proponent of transformation, Mahosi is confident that the BANKSETA  will continue to promote transformation of the banking and alternative  sector in a practical way.

Mahosi believes that through dialogue most of the challenges that face the sector, the different countries and the different regions on the continent can be resolved. “I believe in constructive engagement and in sharing information through effective communication. I also strongly believe that the media and the opinion leaders need to take a more positive and solution orientated approach to challenges we face – I also believe that every leader or role player should ensure that their behaviour is ethical and responsible for the greater benefit of all the people of the continent,” he concludes.

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