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Audacious leadership, resilient bankers required to navigate downturn – Adesina

By Geoff Iyatse
07 December 2020   |   4:13 am
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has admitted the banks, like other businesses, are facing trying times. He, however, said resilient bankers as well as “audacious leadership” are needed to drive the economy to recovery.

Akinwumi Adesina

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has admitted the banks, like other businesses, are facing trying times. He, however, said resilient bankers as well as “audacious leadership” are needed to drive the economy to recovery.

Adesina spoke on Saturday at the 2020 Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Fellowship Investiture held in Lagos. He was among the 19 “distinguished Nigerians” conferred with the Institute’s honorary fellowship.

CIBN also, at the event attended by bank chiefs and retired directors, gave 77 and 105 individuals elected fellows and honorary senior members respectively.

Adesina charged the bankers to be bold and resilient to weather the storm as economies struggle to survive the impacts of COVID-19 globally. “Leadership from each one of us is needed in these challenging times,” he tasked the participants while encouraging them to have faith in the economy.

“Economies have been devastated. Africa’s economic growth this year will decline by 3.4 per cent. Globally, economies have gone into recession, as global trade, financial flows, investments, tourism and global supply chains have been disrupted. Millions of jobs have been lost. Consumer demand and business investments have declined. With huge fiscal stimulus packages, interest rates are at all-time lows,” he regretted.

According to the development banker, Africa needs “leadership that is able to navigate complexities” and restore confidence.

“Let us arise and collectively support Nigeria to recover and build back, stronger, better, with greater economic resilience,” he urged, adding that Nigeria deserves the best “from all of us”.

President/Chairman of Council of the Institute, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, called on the banks to fortify themselves against increasing cyber threats and overhaul their risk management frameworks to survive the impact of COVID-19 on the financial system. He pointed out that the pace of disruptive threats to the financial service system has been intense.

“I strongly believe that in a post-COVID-19 environment, banks will continue to strengthen their cybersecurity architecture against potential attacks by fraudsters especially now that traffic has moved to the digital space. Banks will also continue to reinforce their risk management framework in tandem with government policies. I also opine that banks should consider conducting more market research on how customer needs might change in the post-COVID era. This would inform product development and process improvements,” Olugbemi summited.

Also, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Ernest Ebi, called for the creation of innovative new products to meet the changing needs of the banking public. Such products, he suggested, should centre on helping households and businesses to rebuild their financial security.

He added: “Banks’ actions now and over the next few months will influence how the industry will emerge from the crisis into the new reality that lies beyond post-COVID-19. There is a need for the industry to set out deliberate and genuine strategies to support both the fiscal and monetary measures aimed at cushioning the devastating effects of the crisis.”

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