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Q&A with Soumelong Yves

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Soumelong Yves , Payment System Expert| Mobile Financial Services| Digital Transformation| Speaker| E-Banking| Consultant|

How could you describe your career path in few words?

I started by career as an application support engineer in a Telecom company. I spent many years there moving from intelligent network domain to mobile financial services. After that, I jumped into the Project Management River, which conducted me to the Banking Industry Sea. Today I am a Computer Science Engineer with 10+ experience years in the Telecommunication & Bank environments, specialized in Mobile Financial Services, FinTech, Information System Security and Financial Inclusion. As a Consultant, Speaker, and Teacher from time-to-time, I am passionate about leadership, mentoring and inspiring young generations. My Motto: Keep Walking.

What are the highlights of banking transformations in 2022? can you give us some major examples?

2022 has been a very fruitful year. As highlights of banking transformation, we have the following :

1- The rising of FinTech’s and Mobile money in Africa

  • According to GSMA, Africa now accounts 70% of mobile money transactions taking place across the world with 161+ services, 605M+ registered accounts, 53.9Bn+ transactions volume and $1.0tn+ transactions value.

  • M-Pesa, MTN MoMo, Orange Money and Airtel Mobile Money providers continue to lead the market followed up by smaller contenders like OPay, Wave and M2U.

  • Wave has totally disrupted the mobile money market with very low fee for P2P transfer in West Africa.

  • M2U money provided by the Pan African Bank United Bank for Africa (UBA) has launched all their services totally free of charge in Cameroon.

  • The Pan African digital payments company MFS Africa has acquired U.S. based Global Technology Partners (GTP) the world leader in prepaid services, in a cash-and-shares deal worth $ 34 million.

2- Regional Central Banks consolidation in Africa

GIM-UEMOA in West Africa and GIMAC in Central Africa have increase their services and transactions volume provided by their respective inter-operability platforms. Those platforms have put together on the same platform organizations such as Banks, Micro Finances, Mobile money providers, Bill payment providers and Remittances companies. Customers in those area are benefiting the low fees for inter-operability transactions.

3- Banks providing digital services

Banks have noticed that if they continue sleeping on FinTechs, Mobile Money providers will take advantage in the market. They are now providing new digital services such as bank to wallet, cardless withdrawal, digital loan and saving requests, bills payment from mobile channels, etc. In your opinion, what are the transformation axes that are becoming more important for banks in the context of 2023?

  1. Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS)

Banks need to set up infrastructure or partnerships to support basic financial functionality such as account statement, account balance, transfers, processing payments, and remittances. This allows third-party organizations, like FinTechs and aggregators, to connect to a bank's system through APIs. It is also called open banking.

2. Enlarge Ecosystem

People often think that the Bank is for VIP customers. Which is not right. In 2023, Banks must enlarge their ecosystem to come very close to customers, providing services they usually consume. Therefore, partnership with other organizations like Telco’s, petrol stations, insurances, supermarkets, retail companies, etc. is very key.

3. Big Data

The Big Data technology is not well understood in the banking domain. This is unfortunate, since we know how it can disrupt the industry. Banks must leverage on the huge data to provide a personalized service to their customers. What is needed for a customer A could be different for a customer B. With big data, we can analyze customers’ behavior, anticipate on their complaints, and provide solutions or workaround before they notice a service disturbance.

4. Artificial Intelligence

We hear about the new AI platform challenger GTP-4 which is providing incredible services. Banks were already familiar with chatbot banking services which disrupted the market few years ago, but this new AI service can do more and better. Banks must start thinking about it. Based on your recent experiences, and if you have one piece of advice to give for the success of transformation projects, what would it be?

Invest in People! Transformation projects are done by People (employees) for People (customers). We must always put People in the center of our actions: how they feel, what are their needs, what is the best way to provide it, how to keep them involve in the process from start to end.

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