Kenya’s KCB not scared of Big Tech, partners with Huawei

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Wednesday, 10 March 2021 17:16

Joshua Oigara, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Commercial Bank Group speaks during a Reuters interview in Nairobi, Kenya July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jackson Njehia

Covid-19 has hit African economies hard, and Kenya is no exception. Longstanding businesses in tourism, agriculture, logistics... everything came shuddering to a halt. “We prepare, as a bank, for many difficult situations”, says Joshua Oigara, the CEO of Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a leading bank in East Africa. “But we never imagined a pandemic!"

Coronavirus clearly accelerates the trend to digitalisation, worldwide.

How then did it affect a country ahead of the digital pack, such as Kenya, which since 2007 has been zapping cash around the country with phone-to-phone money transfer, M-Pesa? “I think we survived because if migrating our transactions to the digital channels where we already had success”, says Oigara. “More than 98% of our transactions are already out of our premises, and we saw a fourfold increase in digital transactions since last March”.