• Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari
  • Leaders and Members of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
  • Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me start by congratulating you for this 14th Annual Banking and Finance Conference. Thank you, Herbert Wigwe, for the invitation.

Although I am unable to join you physically, I am honoured to offer a few thoughts on the critical importance of this sector for our continent.

The Covid pandemic has affected every aspect of our economies. But the pandemic also presents an opportunity for Africa’s banks to play a leading role in making our societies more resilient and more responsive to the needs of our people.

Whatever affects business, affects banking. Financial services are the engine of private sector development. Banks are crucial for allocating capital wisely and productively.

Indeed, Africa has the resources to fund its own economic growth and reduce dependence on external resources.

To stay competitive, there is the need to keep integrating new technology into banking to increase financial inclusion and access. Banking can’t just be a service for elites.

The African Continental Free Trade Area is creating new opportunities for pan-African trade and investment. Banks with continental reach, like several of the institutions represented here, can lead the way in cementing economic integration.

Finally, the banking sector, more than any other, understands the importance of integrity and good customer service. Banking is ultimately about trust. We look to you to set the pace in this regard.

Our role as governments is to maintain good enabling environments, protecting both shareholders and consumers, while allowing for innovation. We expect you to keep challenging us on this role.

Once again, I wish you a productive conference, and thank you for your invaluable contributions as African bankers, serving African businesses and families.

We look forward to working together to build a more resilient and prosperous Africa for all. I thank you.