Access to Finance Rwanda emphasizes role of data analytics in financial sector

Access to Finance Rwanda emphasizes role of data analytics in financial sector

Access to Finance Rwanda (AFR), a local not-for-profit company , on Thursday, February 29, organized a groundbreaking convening event meant to, among others, share best practices about implemented data analytics initiatives in other financial markets.

Themed “Unleashing the Power of Data in the Financial Sector: A Key to Business Growth,” the event also intended to: share knowledge on how the Rwandan financial sector can capitalize on the power of data to better serve and sustainably position in the dynamic and competitive global market; and discuss existing challenges and opportunities in leveraging data analytics in Rwanda’s financial sector.

It was also meant to inspire innovation and provide actionable insights to achieve sustainable financial development.

Jean Bosco Iyacu, the CEO of AFR, underscored the importance of knowledge dissemination in enabling Rwanda’s financial sector to harness the transformative power of data and steadfastly uphold its competitive edge amidst the whirlwind dynamics of the global marketplace.

He articulated a strategic vision, highlighting a series of monthly events organised by AFR, each tailored to foster robust engagement amongst stakeholders and catalyze tangible advancements within the financial landscape.

The AFR event brought together key players from the financial sector, including financial institutions, nonbank financial institutions, Fintechs, mobile network operators, policy makers, regulators, the private sector, researchers, civil society organizations and development partners.

The AFR event brought together key players from the financial sector, including financial institutions, nonbank financial institutions, Fintechs, mobile network operators, policy makers, regulators, the private sector, researchers, civil society organizations and development partners.

“Amidst the spirited discourse that permeated the events, poignant revelations surfaced regarding the formidable obstacles impeding the seamless integration of data-driven paradigms within financial institutions,” Iyacu noted.

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According to the event organisers, the role of data analytics in the financial sector and all other walks of life is growing in importance and becoming a paramount step for revolutionizing the sector – laying the foundation for a contemporary paradigm shift.

As noted, governments and corporates across the globe are increasingly becoming data savvy – harnessing open data to improve people’s livelihoods through better design of evidence-based policies, as well as customer-centric solutions to address long-term socio-economic needs.

Rwanda’s financial sector is not an exception to this trend. Indeed, it is noted, a wide range of initiatives have been implemented. These include the development of the national data revolution policy in 2017, the data protection and privacy law gazetted in 2021, and the establishment of research and data analytics departments by regulators and some financial institutions, among others.

A study commissioned by AFR in 2022 to assess the “data analytics capacity of Rwanda’s financial institutions, regulators and other local service providers” revealed that Rwanda’s financial sector produces a lot of data but only a handful of stakeholders are turning data into insights.

Similarly, the limited data-driven culture within the financial sector and limited use of external and alternative data to improve existing or develop new products or solutions stand as critical constraints to be addressed to maximally leverage the power of data. This constitutes a missed opportunity to optimize the business performance, forecast future results, and understand the profiles and needs of clients while creating efficiencies.

AFR organized the convening event through the Learn Engage Act Develop (LEAD) Series, events that bring together experts in the financial sector to ideate, debate, and transmit best practices and interventions that can drive and facilitate a diverse and inclusive financial sector that delivers real value to the economy and people.

ALSO READ: Catalysing Rwanda’s financial sector growth through skills development

Laolu Akindele, a technology consultant at PwC, shared his insights, drawing attention to the pervasive specters of disruption, cost constraints, and entrenched cultural inertia that pose formidable barriers to the adoption of new technologies and operational frameworks.

Laolu Akindele, a technology consultant at PwC, said that financial institutions generate massive amounts of data but to maximally leverage them, there is a need to invest in data platforms and talents, embrace data integration and interoperability, establish strong data governance and compliance frameworks, and promote collaboration and partnerships.

Laolu Akindele, a technology consultant at PwC, said that financial institutions generate massive amounts of data but to maximally leverage them, there is a need to invest in data platforms and talents, embrace data integration and interoperability, establish strong data governance and compliance frameworks, and promote collaboration and partnerships.

Akindele said: “Financial institutions generate massive amounts of data but to maximally leverage them, there is a need to invest in data platforms and talents, embrace data integration and interoperability, establish strong data governance and compliance frameworks, and promote collaboration and partnerships.”

The AFR event brought together key players from the financial sector, including financial institutions, nonbank financial institutions, Fintechs, mobile network operators, policy makers, regulators, the private sector, researchers, civil society organizations and development partners.

The New Times

The transformative potential of data analytics emerged as a recurrent motif throughout the event, heralding a paradigm shift in the modus operandi of market monitoring, innovation catalysis, and programmatic efficiency enhancement.

John Rwirahira, the Head of Research and Information at AFR, underscored the imperatives of data protection, equitable access, and judicious sharing protocols.

He said: “Within the private sector, data analytics assumes a pivotal role, steering the trajectory of product innovation, service augmentation, and strategic decision-making.”

John Rwirahira, the Head of Research and Information at AFR, underscored the imperatives of data protection, equitable access, and judicious sharing protocols.

John Rwirahira, the Head of Research and Information at AFR, underscored the imperatives of data protection, equitable access, and judicious sharing protocols.

Rose Ingabire, the Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Kigali, shed light on the pivotal role played by data analytics in propelling product ideas and refining service delivery mechanisms.

She expounded on the imperatives of careful planning and smart execution in realizing the transformative potential of data-driven insights.

Rose Ingabire, the Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Kigali, talked about the importance of careful planning and smart execution in realizing the transformative potential of data-driven insights.

Rose Ingabire, the Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Kigali, talked about the importance of careful planning and smart execution in realizing the transformative potential of data-driven insights.

AFR stands as amarket catalyst, steadfastly championing the cause of financial inclusion and sectorial development, with an unwavering commitment to extending the ambit of financial services to marginalized demographics, including women, the youth, rural communities, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Wilson Kamali, the Director of Statistics at the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR), talked about the imperatives of institutional fortification, underscoring the pivotal role played by data-driven policymaking frameworks in engendering economic resilience and transparency. He articulated a compelling vision, envisaging a landscape wherein information flows seamlessly across regulatory channels, fostering an environment of accountability and efficacy.

Ivan Murenzi, the Deputy Director-General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, appreciated how, “from the top level, this [data analytics] has been given attention.”

Ivan Murenzi, the Deputy Director-General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), noted that "from the top level," data analytics has been given attention. He said the government has set the bar and the financial sector should emulate that.

Ivan Murenzi, the Deputy Director-General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR), noted that “from the top level,” data analytics has been given attention. He said the government has set the bar and the financial sector should emulate that.

He said: “In high level meetings you can see how the top leadership asks for facts; and that, for me, is powerful. But there is also need to really sustain the level of coordination and engagement across … I sit on the Board of the central bank and that’s intentional, to see how we work together, to see how we don’t duplicate things, to see how we reinforce things.”

“My message is that the government has set the bar [and] it’s been progressive. I think the financial sector can emulate that.”

Source: The New Times

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