Q: What is your vision or key areas that you aim to achieve during your tenure as Chairman of the Banking Association of Botswana?
A: My term as Chairman will be focused on consolidating the value proposition of the Bankers’ Association to its members, its institutional stakeholders and to the public. Membership and stakeholder value will be achieved through successful completion of a number of projects, among which are Phase II of the electronic KYC system, facilitation of a validation service of Online Reference Numbers (ORNs) for BURS tax payments, as well as proactive participation in the National Retail Payment Switch Project led by the Bank of Botswana.
With regard to matters of public interest, I will endeavour to ensure visibility of the Association through articulation of information about the industry and its operations. It is critical that we continue introducing frameworks that support Batswana, particularly during this season where we are fighting a pandemic.
Bank Gaborone has of recent introduced a mobile banking app and cash deposit facility at its ATMs to enable mobile banking, a move that has been adopted by other banks to ensure that banking is available on digital platforms for customer convenience.
Q: How do you plan to position the Association for addressing issues of financial inclusion, particularly for marginalised communities, as well as issues of maintenance and service fees by banks?
A: Matters of financial inclusion form an integral part of BAB’s operational activities. As you may recall, the Association has over the past years hosted its flagship “Banking and Wealth Exposition” which was very successful. That was followed by a financial literacy quiz called “On the Money” which was broadcast on BTV. The BAB is committed to organising these and similar events on a regular basis. A second banking and wealth exposition would have been organised in 2020. I also need to mention that the financial literacy objective remains an integral footprint in most of the externally oriented activities of the Association.
Q: Coming in as the new Chairperson, how are you fitting in regarding the mandate of the Association?
A: As the new Chairman coming into the BAB in the middle of a pandemic, I expect there will be challenges and opportunities for strategic alliances to enable all banks to improve the banking sector. Bank Gaborone has taken an opportunity to adopt a more agile approach to banking as we introduce branches of the future, a reality for all the local banks to improve service delivery. As we forge through the digital transformation era, it is critical that the Association’s apex body, which is the BAB Council, operates in an organised fashion. We shall continue holding regular meetings to make strategic decisions and guide activities of the BAB Secretariat. To that extent, there will be no radical changes in the BAB’s raison d’etrer as a result of change in the chairmanship.
Handover formalities between the outgoing Chairman and myself, which has already started, will undoubtedly be smooth. I must also emphasise that the BAB Secretariat is playing a very instrumental role in ensuring a smooth handover between chairmanship transitions. As the BAB, our strength is centred around engagement and collaboration.
Q: Please give an update about the other members of the committee and what are you expecting from them?
A: Membership of the Bankers’ Association comprises all the nine private commercial banks licensed by the Bank of Botswana. I expect my colleagues in the BAB Council to continue supporting me in steering the Association towards its service quality, particularly in ensuring that the Botswana payments system remains operationally sound and efficient. I will also be looking forward to the usual support of BAB members in continuing the legacy of cordial and constructive engagements with the industry regulators and other government agencies.