All the major banks are beating a path to the doors of African countries, taking their best to South Africa’s immediate neighbours and, increasingly, continuing the trek up north. FNB has operations in seven sub-Saharan African countries and has launched its banking apps and digital services into these. Nedbank has a presence in most neighbouring countries and is now looking to East Africa. Barclays is well entrenched across the region. Stanbic is one of the largest banking networks on the continent, with representation in 19 African countries and more than 1 100 branches.
Banks’ rapid expansion into Africa holds exciting opportunities for BANKSETA. The BANKSETA Board has taken a decision to support the banks in their endeavours to take the sophistication of South African banking to the continental marketplace by facilitating the training of staff in those countries. Skills development is a particularly pressing need, as South African companies are required to use mostly local resources to staff their operations.
Development of staff in these countries, by and large, is in its infancy, especially when compared to the great strides made in South Africa since the inception of skills development legislation. Diversification by retailers and communications companies into financial services and the meteoric African growth of companies such as MTN and Shoprite Checkers adds new facets to the challenge, and BANKSETA will work closely with fellow SETAs in the wholesale and retail, and IT sectors to accommodate demand for skills among these companies.
As custodian of human resources development in the banking and microfinance sectors, BANKSETA needs to be where its stakeholders are and where they need help to extend to these new markets the professional and skilled service to which domestic customers have become accustomed. Plans are well underway. An agreement has been signed with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that allows for BANKSETA learning material to be used in the region. Discussions have begun with the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) in Accra, a possible base from which BANKSETA could coordinate its training facilitation activities.