Banking Research Conference Explores Post COVID Economic Recovery Opportunities
Nairobi 22nd September 2021 - The 10th edition of the Kenya Bankers Association Annual Banking Research Conference kicked off today with papers that explored opportunities to enhance the banking industry's role in supporting economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 disruption. Research papers presented during the opening session this morning focused on the impact of the pandemic on risk assessment, highlighting opportunities towards supporting further credit growth in the wake of the pandemic.
While officiating the conference's opening ceremony, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) Deputy Governor Mrs. Sheila M'Mbijjewe said the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified opportunities and risks, noting that resilience would be important in navigating through the health crisis. 'Banks have been critical in bringing Kenya to its current state of stability,' said Mrs. M'Mbijjewe, adding that economic arguments should be answered through clear economic policies.
Kenya Bankers Association Governing Council Chairman Mr. John Gachora observed that the pandemic has extensively depressed the economy, noting that facilitating an understanding of the financial environment through research has become a necessity considering the dynamics of the Kenyan market and global disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"These dynamics are seen to have a bearing at both the policy and operational fronts, and at the broader economic environment under which banks, just like other businesses, operate. It is in recognition of these dynamics that the banking industry, through the Kenya Bankers Association, has endeavoured to ground its understanding of the current and emerging developments through research," he said.
On his part, the KBA Chief Executive Dr. Habil Olaka expressed optimism that the Kenyan banking industry's resilience will play a critical role in supporting a strong and sustainable economic recovery in the year 2021. "How the industry navigates the potential trade-offs of ensuring a stable system and supporting economic recovery is a tight balancing act, that would be informed partly by the focus of some of the papers lined up for presentation in this conference," he added.
This year's conference marks the 10th anniversary of the forum that brings together researchers, financial sector players, policymakers, and academia. This year's discussions will further shed light on risks and risks assessment in the banking sector in the wake of COVID-19 and the effect of the pandemic on the sector's asset portfolios and innovations.
Institutions which will participate in the conference include the KBA Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy, Financial Sector Deepening Africa (FSDA), Strathmore University, Embu University, NCBA Bank and the Central Bank of Kenya.
The Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) is an industry association aimed at catering for the interests of the member banks as well as promoting industry development and sustainable economic growth by engaging the government and the primary sector regulators, namely National Treasury, Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), Capital Markets Authority (CMA), and Retirement Benefits Authority (RBA).
To reinforce the banking industry's ability to be a primary driver of the economy's sustainable economic development aspiration, the mandate of the Association was redefined and enshrined in the KBA 2014-2018 Strategic Plan. The core focus was broadened to include lobbying and advocacy, and championing industry development and innovation by coordinating the members and partnering with stakeholders on strategic initiatives, including Research.
As the umbrella body of the institutions licensed and regulated by CBK with a current membership of 45 financial institutions representing total assets in excess of USD 37 billion, KBA continues to reinforce a reputable and professional banking sector in a bid to best support Kenyans, who entrust their ambitions and hard-earned resources with its member banks.
About KBA Annual Research Conference
The Kenya Bankers Association Research Conference is an annual forum organized by the KBA Centre for Research on Financial Markets and Policy. During the forum, KBA hosts dialogues and conferences involving scholars and practitioners on key financial market issues.
Through the Conference, the Centre acts as a platform for intellectual engagement and dialogue between financial market experts, the banking sector, and the policy makers in Kenya. It therefore contributes to an informed discussion that influences critical financial market debates and policies.