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Firms urged to train customers in digital competence

By Samuel Sanya

Added 19th February 2019 02:58 PM

The UN noted in its sustainable development goals that financially illiterate people are likely to be financially excluded in this digital age.

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The UN noted in its sustainable development goals that financially illiterate people are likely to be financially excluded in this digital age.

 
 Patrick Mweheire, Stanbic Bank Uganda Chief Executive (2nd Right) responds to one of the questions paused during the panel discussion at the 2019 Stanbic Economic Forum as Paul Busharizi, New Vision Public Editor, New Jibran Qureishi, Stanbic Bank’s Regional Economist for the East African, gives a presentation about the Economic outlook 2019 at the 2019 Stanbic Economic Forum which took place at Kampala Serena Hotel. PHOTO: Samuel Sanya
 
Abel Manishimwe’s mobile phone is loaded with several applications (apps). He has one for his bank, four applications for social media, another two for mobile games and a new one for his favourite Premier League club Manchester United. 
 
Although he has several apps on his phone, Manishimwe admits that he doesn’t understand the full functionality of each of them. He is not digitally literate.
 
Digital literacy is the ability to access, manage, understand, integrate, communicate, evaluate and create information safely and appropriately through digital devices and networked technologies for participation in economic and social life, according to UNESCO.
 
The UN noted in its sustainable development goals that financially illiterate people are likely to be financially excluded in this digital age.  Consequently, digital literacy is one of the monitoring indicators of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 4.4.
 
During the 2019 Stanbic Bank economic forum at the Serena Hotel under the theme: “achieving a paradigm shift in Uganda’s economic growth through leveraging technology” it was noted that firms need to take the lead in enabling Ugandans to attain digital literacy.
 
Michael Niyitegeka, the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) Country Manager for Uganda said that firms have a lot to gain from ensuring that their customers attain an acceptable level of digital competence if their applications to attain optimum usage.
 
“If we are going to make the economy depend on digital, we need to think about the digital competence of the citizens (consumers). You can find someone out of campus and they cannot competently send an email,” he said.
 
Ugandans urged to explore the world of applications
 
During the forum, Edgar Kasenene, CEO Retro Rabbitt made a presentation on a sub-theme “Digital Now - Time to Repurpose?” where he urged Ugandans not to be afraid to launch digital applications. He noted that successful digital applications like Uber, Amazon, Paypal, Netflix, WhatsApp, Airbnb, and Spotify set out to leverage data to improve customer experience.
 
“When your sole focus is the customer, it all makes sense. To create a product today, you do not need $100,000 to build that product. You can develop an app that solves a customer need, and disrupt the industry,” Kasenene said. “We no longer develop products without the customer. We develop products with them.”
 
He pointed out that companies that concentrate on the customers’ needs, making their service faster and simpler realize exponential growth. He noted that it took the airline industry 54 years to get to 50 million users while it took pokemon GO, a digital application only two weeks to get the same number of users.
 
Patrick Mweheire, the Stanbic bank Uganda CEO revealed that the bank intends to mine data from its digital banking applications to improve its operations.
 
“Data allows banks to better the customer journey. We should have some predictive ability to forecast our customer needs. We are investing heavily and we believe we shall reach data maturity soon so we can start mining it,” he said.
 
Uganda’s non-performing loans lowest in East Africa
 
Uganda has a lower non-performing loans ratio than its East Africa Community (EAC) counterparts of Kenya and Tanzania, and this is driving credit uptake to boost economic growth, experts have said.
 
“Uganda’s ratio of Non-Preforming Loans (NPLs) is less than 4%, Kenya is at 12% and Tanzania (11%) which is significantly important in credit uptake. That is why credit growth is higher in Uganda,” said Jibran Qureishi, Stanbic banks economist for the East African region.
 
“Uganda is the only country with a double-digit growth in credit uptake among EAC states,” he added, reaffirming Uganda’s economic growth projections of 6.3% this financial year and 6.6% next year due to oil and gas related expenditure.

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