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Plenary: Prospects for Africa in Post-Crisis Environment
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Prospects of renewed growth in Africa during the post-crisis environment are excellent, as the continent had the spare capacity to expand.

The panel consisted of: Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Nigerian central bank; Fifi Kwetey, deputy-minister of finance and economic planning in Ghana; Professor Njuguna Ndung’u, governor of the Kenyan central bank; Koosam Kalyan, non-executive board member of Standard Bank; and Standard Bank chief economist Goolam Ballim.

The consensus was that Africa was recovering from the financial crisis despite in many cases each country also having their own domestic crises to address – for instance, political turmoil followed by drought in the case of Kenya. Nonetheless, it was felt the prospects for Africa were excellent to build on the average 6% growth the continent had enjoyed prior to the crisis.
What was shaping Africa’s destiny was a growing political will to address the challenges of the continent: poor governance, lack of infrastructure and uneven regulatory environment.
However, this was building off low base: in many cases the more rich an African country is in resources, the worse off the people, especially in education. This reflected poor revenue management, which would only change as the ‘old guard’ faded in the face of growing democratisation across the continent.

Do you feel there is a growing accountability of African leadership? Post your opinions.
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Johannesburg - Absa bank is testing a new approach to its business by extending banking hours for the Olievenhoutbosch community.
In a statement on Tuesday, it said that its branch there would be open for 12 hours a day from 7:00 to 19:00, "enabling increased access to financial services by the community".

These were "the longest full service branch opening hours yet" in South Africa.

Absa said it had identified Olievenhoutbosch in Gauteng to test a new banking approach that reflected banking trends and consumer behaviour patterns within that area and, importantly, the area had a high number of unbanked and entry-level banking customers.

Absa CEO Daphne Motsepe said that simultaneously a mobile Absa workforce was providing services at a local taxi rank, where customers could apply for accounts or take out insurance on the spot.
"When demand exceeds Absa's normal capacity in the area, the bank also brings in a bank on wheels - a vehicle with a fully functional ATM as well as deposit-taking facilities and two banking application work stations," she said.

Absa had acted on customer feedback, which showed that extended banking hours would make it possible for community members to conduct banking transactions they would not otherwise be able to do.
"Customers who live in areas like Olievenhoutbosch leave home early for work and return late due to transport challenges, making banking impossible during the week," Motsepe said

When is SBSA going to be challenging the status quo? Majority of SA remain unbanked. We need to tap into this market
Super Contributor
At Standard Bank Group, we believe firmly that financial education and
access to banking uplifts communities. We have a number of initiatives
in place to bring banking to the so-called "unbanked". This includes
innovative banking solutions that make it easier for people in such
communities to open accounts, move money and save money.

These have been launched in various communities in South Africa and in
other countries, such as Nigeria. Generally, they are not branch-based
and as such we have no need to open branches. The banking mechanisms are mostly available outside of traditional business hours. Some are
cellphone based, others rely on partnerships with grocery stores and
other businesses already established in a community.

This brings banking to millions who have previously been excluded from
the formal financial services sector.

Such micro-banking capabilities for the informal market continue to
expand and develop. The solutions are affordable and sustainable.