Ecobank CEO says pandemic can boost digital financial services

Ecobank CEO Ade Ayeyemi at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2019. Credit: Himbaza Pacifique/ACF 2019/The Africa Report

The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to quicken the shift to digital financial services in Africa, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated CEO Ade Ayeyemi said.

Once the worst of the pandemic is over, COVID-19 could be “a great accelerator,” enabling the adoption of new technology in Africa, Ayeyemi said from Lomé in Togo. “It can be an opportunity for the continent and create new business models.”

Using digital channels rather than branches has raised fears that financial services may become harder to obtain for those who can’t afford access to digital tools. Ayeyemi has faith in the march of technology.

“The world can evolve very quickly,” he said, citing the power of modern smartphones versus old IBM computers. “Digital can work and a lot of people will use it.”

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