CR2 in Ethiopia for the Long Haul

Aug 1 , 2022.

Fortune: What role does CR2 play in the deal with Oromia Bank?

Fintan Byrne: We are providing digital banking and payment platform technology to ensure that Oromia Bank can execute its digital transformation strategy. We are an omnichannel partner and can enable Oromia Bank to bring its digital offerings to the market efficiently.

Is CR2 familiar with the Ethiopian market? How does your global experience fit here?

Yes, CR2 is familiar with the Ethiopian market. In fact, CR2 is very familiar with the African market. There are 100 banks using our platforms in about 60 countries. Thirty-five of these countries are in Africa. We've been in the Ethiopian market for more than 10 years supporting some of the other banks. More than three Ethiopian banks are

working with us. Today, we are pleased that Oromia Bank is an addition to our platform. We are focusing on the Middle East and Africa as our key markets. It is a combination of us having global experience and being able to match that with the local expertise that we have in Ethiopia to provide a more complete solution to the market. The agreement between CR2 and Oromia Bank means we have a long-term partnership to build together the capabilities that Oromia Bank needs to execute its digital transformation strategy.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed banking?

The pandemic has definitely changed how people want to bank. Covid transformed peoples' way of life, and as a result of that, they have changed not only how they bank but how they travel and so many other things. People

are getting more used to digital banking and digital payments. Now, they're looking for more services. Particularly, they want everything to be personalised and available quickly. Covid accelerated that. This is a very good prospect for CR2 because that is what we do, we facilitate that.

How are banks responding to these changes?

Banks are responding by investing significantly in their digital banking and payment capabilities. They're looking

for new services to market and looking to differentiate themselves with different types of innovation and to be able

to ensure that they are at the forefront of this shift to digital. There is a lot of competition on this front as well. A lot of fintech firms are entering the market, trying to provide these kinds of services so banks are having to respond very quickly to changes in the market and to make sure they stay at the forefront of what they are trying to do.

What do you see as the key trends and developments in banking over the coming year?

I think there is going to be a continuous move to digital both for banking and for payments and not just for

retail banking but also for corporate banking. I also think there are going to be changes in some of the technology

around artificial intelligence data analytics. Banks are going to leverage those capabilities and technology more to

provide better services to their customers. I think that is going to be a big trend in the foreseeable future. Of

course, banks are going to be responding to regulatory changes in terms of things like banking security as well. We

will see more and more people shifting to digital, particularly digital payments. I think there is going to be a lot of focus on digital payments over the next 12 months.

PUBLISHED ON Aug 01,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1162]