By Sanna Camara
The president of The Gambia Bankers Association, who is also the CEO of Trust bank Gambia Ltd. Has said that the West African sub-region needs a robust financial system to harness its rich attributes. These rich attributes according to him, include a low catastrophic profile where natural disasters rarely occur, politically stable states endowed with rich mineral resources “and willing to imbibe the principles of good governance and transparency. Above all,” he said, “there is a growing middle class, well-educated and poised to be entrepreneurs… resulting in a strong labour force with a growing youth population.” High average return on investments and commitment of various national leaderships for regional integration to create a single economic space with enormous benefits accruing from the synergies, are other rich attributes the senior banking expert said West Africa sub-region has.
Bank’s shareholders investing across West Africa
“The integration of the sub-region that is on course cannot ignite without a stable banking sector for the sub-region; therefore, the sector must be guarded against situations that can erode the stability. The banking sector’s commitment to regional integration is commendable. In the past ten years or so, we have witnessed bank’s shareholders investing in banking across the West African sub-region. It is such economic activities that solidify unity in the sub-region,” he told delegates, who were gathered at the 65th Ordinary Meeting of the executive council of the West Africa bankers Association in Banjul yesterday.
Transactions continue to be predominantly cash
The Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia, Amadou Kolley, agrees that as key providers of financial services in the sub-region, banks have crucial role to play in ensuring a robust and efficient payments and settlements systems. “Unfortunately, transactions continue to be predominantly cash. Besides, the limited electronic transfers between our countries pass through correspondent banks located thousands of miles away from our territories. I am reliably informed that WABA is considering a project to integrate settlement through the West African Clearing House. This is commendable….”