Businesses in Uganda have been tipped on the need to create smart and flexible solutions for their clientele as this is the only way to thrive under the current business environment.
Guinness Nigeria PLC Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Baker Magunda, gave the tip while delivering a keynote address at the 10th edition of the annual CEO forum held at Kampala Serena Hotel.
This year’s forum was themed; “How Corporate East Africa Can Claim the 21st Century”.
Magunda noted that issues of urbanization, technology and environmental change play a key role in how people work and live in a said economy, adding that businesses with smart and flexible options are likely to win in 2019 and the outer years.
He told attendees who included key business stakeholders, industry and thought leaders, that for a transitional economy like Uganda to grow, CEOs should be willing to not only be competitive but also build from the grass roots.
“Lift as you rise,” he said.
He then went ahead to talk about the complexities and disruptions that influence business growth in divergent cultures like Uganda.
More than 200 of the region’s best business and industry minds, representatives of leading private sector firms, civil society and Uganda’s public sector leaders spent the day discussing what works, what matters and what needs to change, ensuring an enriching exchange of ideas and insights.
Mathias Katamba, the chief executive of DFCU Bank made a case for why leveraging technology is critical for inclusive financial services.
Quoting 2018 statistics, he revealed that only 11 percent of Ugandans used financial services from banks, compared to Kenya at 42 percent and South Africa at 77 percent.
“This shows us that we have a long way to go and a big job ahead of us in our efforts to increase financial inclusion,” he said.
“73% of Ugandans who used financial services used banking halls while 2% used internet banking. Most importantly, 90% are open to digital learning – a pointer to an incredible opportunity which we can all utilize as we enable financial inclusiveness across Uganda,” said Katamba.
He said technology offers a channel to address the challenges in financial inclusion; as enablers, educators and suppliers of the solutions that are required. It also increases the ability to disseminate information and create awareness within communities who lack this information.
In Uganda, a country with 77 percent of its population under 30 and 50 percent under age 15, Katamba says well applied technology will attract young people to take part in various areas within the financial sector.
Among the recommendations he outlined was; anticipatory regulation that is in tandem with technological advances, addressing cyber security, consumer education and localizing content to increase relevance for the Ugandan user.
The forum was also attended by State Minister for Finance and Planning, David Bahati and Standard Chartered Bank chairman, Dr.Robin Kibuuka.
Others included the Barclays Bank Executive Director and CEO, Micheal Segawa, IMF Resident Representative Clara Mira, as well as DFCU Managing Director Mathias Katamba, Tullow Oil Managing Director Jimmy Mugerewa and Prof. Maggie Kigozi, among others.
FIrst held in 2009, the CEO Forum is a platform, which was created to stimulate an open dialogue between the participants, forming healthy debates and creative thinking opportunities that can be adopted in creating favourable conditions for businesses to thrive , n diverse and volatile economies.
The platform combines a unique blend of brilliant minds from multiple disciplines unpacking critical issues and exploring practical options and possibilities to foster a healthy business space especially in the public-private sector.