Kampala: Standard Chartered Bank Uganda held a thought leadership event to discuss business immersion in Sustainable Trade Finance for over 100 corporate and SME business leaders at Sheraton Hotel.
The Sustainable Trade Finance Event and the Straight2Bank Next Gen platform launch were presided over by Hon. David Bahati, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives and Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance, respectively.
The Standard Chartered Bank Business immersion on Sustainable Trade Finance event flagged off the evening by drawing the attention of all stakeholders to the urgency to flatten the curve of greenhouse gas emissions and bring them down to Net zero to avert a climate pandemic.
To open the event the new CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Uganda, Mr. Sanjay Rughani welcomed the guests and appreciated them for their participation before welcoming the Guest of Honour to deliver his keynote address.
While delivering his keynote address, the Minister of State for Trade, Industry and Co-operatives – Hon. David Bahati said; “While all of us at an individual level should play a part to combat the effects of climate change through change of our habits and lifestyle to reduce our personal carbon footprint, this can only go so far. We need system-level solutions through partnerships between government, the private sector and development organisations for effective and permanent change.” He further added; “The banking, finance and investment communities play a critical role in facilitating investments in renewable energy solutions and carbon neutral technologies. We are therefore very happy as the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives to see Standard Chartered Bank taking the lead on the journey towards Net zero emissions through business awareness symposiums such as this and extending robust sustainable Trade Finance solutions to the Business community in Uganda. Through sustainable Trade Financing solutions, we should see growth in the supply and demand for green investments.” He concluded.
Patrick Makau, the Executive Principal, the Standard Chartered Head of Trade and Working Capital Kenya and East Africa then took the floor and reassured the participants saying; “As Standard Chartered Bank we have taken the responsibility for the progress in our communities and that is why we are advocating for sustainable finance. We also have a proven track record of innovation across Trade Finance and Sustainable Finance with several global awards to reinforce our role in financing major energy, telecoms, mining and infrastructure projects to growing businesses and building communities. With consumers, investors and governments increasingly focusing on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics, there is a growing impact on global supply chain activities. We also understand that Sustainability is increasingly at the forefront of your respective business strategies so by deploying our sustainable financing solutions, you can now complement your sustainable procurement and your own sustainable agenda with our tailor-made sustainable trade finance offering. As a leader in trade and sustainable finance, we are here to help you achieve your sustainability goals.”
After the speeches, a panel discussion that was moderated by the Head Transaction Banking Kenya and East Africa Ms. Makabelo Malumane alongside Mr. Sanjay Rughani the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank and the Chief Operating Officer of Private Sector Foundation of Uganda, Ms. Grace Nshemeire Gwaku ensued.
The panel discussed various aspects and criticality of environmental conservation, appealing to the audience to embrace and own the responsibility of preventing a looming environmental catastrophe.
Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo who is the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance then led the participants on a Networking tour of the experiential booths that demonstrated the Straight2Bank NextGen platform capabilities before settling down for the unveiling cocktail event.
At the Straight2Bank NextGen launch event, the Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Board Chairperson – Mrs. Maria Kiwanuka addressed the participants first reminding them of the Bank’s strategy and commitment, stating; “One of the Bank’s STANDs of Lifting Participation aims to improve the lives of 1 billion people and their communities globally, by unleashing the full potential of women and lifting participation of Small Businesses in our core markets by providing access to finance, networks, training young people, driving accessible banking at scale and connecting affluent clients to opportunities for making a societal impact. The Straight2Bank Next Gen solution we are unveiling today will enable women and youth led SME’s access the best digital business banking solutions to grow their businesses in a fast, smart and easier way. In addition to this, under another of our STANDS, Resetting Globalisation, we also aim to support 500,000 companies globally to improve working and environmental standards and giving everyone the chance to participate in the world economy, so growth becomes fairer and more balanced.”
On his part, Mr. Sanjay Rughani the Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bank Uganda appealed to the present business leaders stating that;
“As Standard Chartered Bank we have kept innovating after taking into account our clients’ feedback which informed an upgrade to our Straight2Bank Corporate platform to the newly unveiled Straight2Bank NextGen platform which mainly focuses on security, convenience and digitizing of Trade Finance and Payments. The Next Gen platform also boasts of superior capabilities and efficiencies that make it; Simpler, faster, offering a better customer experience, Improved convenience, Customizable features, Improved efficiency and Improved TAT for system capability among others.” He added: At Standard Chartered, we have a three-pronged innovation approach to differentiate, disrupt growth and transform the Bank to achieve our goals and these include transforming our core via digitisation, leveraging partnerships to drive scale and extend reach as we build new business models to create value. We are therefore committed to transform banking using technology as the Main Digital Bank in Uganda. Our timely and disruptive digital innovations are aimed at making banking services fully accessible, inclusive, faster, simple and offer unrivalled convenience whenever and wherever our clients are. I am therefore pleased to be part of this ceremony as we unveil our state-of-the-art platform Straight2Bank Nextgen platform that will offer corporate clients, SMEs and other businesses an unrivalled digital experience.”
Before officially launching the Straight2Ban Next Gen platform, Hon. Joyce Nabbosa Ssebugwawo the State Minister for ICT and National Guidance said that Banks are one of the biggest drivers and consumers of IT as they become increasingly reliant on heavily skilled technologists to instruct IT systems and invest in systems.
Such usage and investments are inevitably driving improvements in banks’ digital systems and as banks continue to invest smartly in digitization, they are reaping massive rewards. As we celebrate the strides made by banks in the technological space however, we need to stay focused on the negative implications like the inherent risks, fraud and losses in their sector.
“I therefore call upon Standard Chartered Bank to continue investing in up-skilling their workforce to keep up with new trends and ably support clients navigate the various challenges they face as they adopt to using these platforms. We also need you to be a leader in sharing best practice, reduce the cost of doing business for clients and undertake continuous financial literacy to help the entire sector catch up. One of the other critical digitization challenges is around security. There is need to combine convenience with rigour in the customer verification procedures,” she concluded.