Patrick Njoroge: Kenya's digital transformation journey

Keynote address (virtual) by Dr Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) Annual Conference 2020, 12 November 2020.

Central bank speech  | 
17 November 2020

Good morning, good afternoon and good evening to you all! I am delighted to join you for this important Conference, and I express my profound gratitude to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) for the invite. I want to believe that I have a strong connection to Barbados and indeed the Caribbean people, built over the years. I have fond memories of my visit to Barbados in September last year, and the warm hospitality from my brother Governor Cleviston Haynes of the Central Bank of Barbados. But I believe we are just beginning a beautiful friendship-in the words of Prime Minister Mia Motley at Kenya's 56th Jamhuri Day celebrations, "[...] know in Kenya that Barbados is a second home for you. Know in Kenya, that the Caribbean is your second home for you. Know in Kenya, that your brothers and sisters in the Caribbean will stand together with you for those causes that unite us, because our values are similar."

We had the honour of hosting the Prime Minister during her State Visit to Kenya last December. As part of her visit, the Central Bank of Kenya organised an exhibition entitled "Fintech in the Savannah" where the Prime Minister interacted with innovators from Kenyan banks, telecommunication companies and Fintech companies. I was amazed at the Prime Minister's high-level ownership of potential innovations in Barbados. At one point a young Fintech, Kwara, caught her attention. Kwara has developed a solution that enables Savings and Credit Unions (SACCOs)-or credit unions as they are referred to in Barbados-to digitize their operations through a subscription cloud-based solution without having to acquire expensive new software and hardware. This would facilitate SACCOs (or credit unions) to move quickly into the digital age, while serving their mostly rural 2 customers. This innovation immediately clicked with the Prime Minister, given the challenges faced by credit unions in Barbados and the potential positive impact on the population, and she immediately invited Kwara to Barbados. Yes, Prime Minister, we will send our best and brightest!