Patrick Njoroge: Remittances and cross-border payments - challenges and opportunities

Remarks by Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, at the International Money Transfer and Cross Border Payment Conference (IMTC), Nairobi, 21 September 2017.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
10 October 2017

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen! It is a great pleasure for me to join you at this conference. Let me begin by thanking the conference organizers for the invitation, and for giving me the opportunity to interact with the distinguished participants. We feel particularly privileged to host this inaugural IMTC Africa Conference in Nairobi. It is equally significant for the East African region, which increasingly is viewed as an attractive destination for business and investments. This conference therefore provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the important topics of remittances and cross-border payments, the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

The beginnings of our banking system is intertwined with remittances and cross border payments. The first bank in Kenya was established in 1896, to facilitate sending money home by Indian workers that were building the railway through Kenya, and also to support trade in the Europe-South Africa-India axis. A lot has changed since then. A hundred years ago, remittances depended on the movement of a written instruction over sea and land. It could take months and the transaction faced many perils. Today, transfers are virtually instantaneous and current protocols ensure certainty of the transfer. Customers' interest in a secure and inexpensive remittance channel remain unchanged.