Webinar: The acceleration of digitalization adoption in covid-19 times

Feb 11, 2021 | Virutal (Online)

The EIB West and Central Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy 2020-2021

Webinar series

Making Finance Work For Africa (MFW4A) and the IPC, Horus and IECD Consortium, within the context of the European Investment Bank (EIB) TA Financial sector programme for West and Central Africa are hosting a series of four (4) webinars for banks and microfinance institutions of these two (2) sub regions.

The third webinar of this series is entitled "The acceleration of digitalization adoption in Covid-19 times". 

Date: 11 February 2021, 01 pm (Abidjan) / 02 pm (Cotonou, Paris, Frankfurt, Douala, Kinshasa)


NBThe webinar will be held in French, with simultaneous translation into English. 

The webinar will focus on the following issues:

How has the Covid 19 crisis accelerated the implementation of digital solutions for the provision of financial services? How was traditional project planning shortened? With which challenges, risks and results and which were the lessons learnt?

How have financial institutions started to prepare for the “new economy” triggered by the increasing spread of digital solutions? Notably: How are client adoption of digital channels and trust promoted? How are financial institutions providing useful information and knowledge to their clients? How is the emergence of e-commerce promoted?

How are financial institutions positioning themselves in the digital landscape to compete or cooperate with new players (FinTech, MNOs) and increase financial inclusion?


Prior to the pandemic, the digitalization of financial services was already evolving rapidly for over a decade, in particular thanks to the rise of FinTech companies, Mobile Network Operators (MNO) offering innovative digital products, and also the augmentation of e-commerce. Also, the traditional banks and microfinance institutions were underway to catch the digitalization train, although at a mixed pace across the continent.

The Covid 19 crisis has led businesses in general and financial institutions in particular to speed up the adoption of digital solutions, so as to reduce physical contacts between their staff and their clients but also to cut costs in a context of reduced business volumes, interest rates and, in case of the lenders, increased credit risk. This process is being accompanied to various degrees by measures taken by regulators to promote digital payment transactions and services, workforce virtualization, etc.

Especially financial institutions have been under pressure to implement digital solutions much swifter than this would have been the case under normal circumstances, sometimes reducing their planning horizon from 2-3 years to just 3-6 months. They have done so by adopting measures such as using simple technological solutions (“plug and play”), setting up special tasks forces, cutting paper work, cooperating with regulators, etc. At the same time, successful FIs managed to put their clients at the center of their solutions, e.g. by enabling their front desk employees to spend less time for paper work and more time with clients and providing information and knowledge to clients to find digital solutions for themselves.

A particular aspect of the digital economy is that solutions can be used to increase financial inclusion (of persons having no bank accounts) and to create and intensify economic links (such as the digital platform of Twiga Food in Kenya which is linking food producers (small farmers) to retailers).


Moderators: Guy Menan, MFW4A  & André Oertel, Horus Development Finance

Introductory words: Ramon Ynaraja, EIB regional office representative, Senegal

Meet the Panelists

anChristophe Bretagnolle is an expert in digitalisation. After 10 years with the ProCredit group (a banking group with a long experience in  microfinance and SME financing), he has solid knowledge of the operational processes of financial institutions. In particular, he has managed IT departments, and worked in the support of African institutions and the setting up of a regional information systems support office for the continent.  Since 2017 he has participated in and led numerous digitisation projects and technical assistance projects for KFW, GIZ, EBRD or directly for financial institutions in many countries (Benin, Mali, DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, Palestine ....). These projects cover a wide range of IT and digital-related issues such as, among others, the selection of banking software providers, project management for banking system migration, the digitalisation of processes (credit, treasury), the design of a digital strategy or the design and implementation of digital services and products.

n Olivier Bailly-Béchet is currently the CEO of Advans Ghana. He has a strong background in economics and business management, as well as 25 years of experience in financial services, management and financial inclusion. He has acquired a solid working knowledge of microfinance operations, including product definition and credit methodologies, definition and implementation of policies and procedures, planning, training, network development and management, and sales team management. He joined Advans International in 2003, where he held various positions. He was CEO of Finadev Chad and then launched 2 subsidiaries as Managing Director / Deputy Managing Director at Advans Cameroon and Advans Côte d'Ivoire. He became Group Credit Manager at Advans International in 2014. Before joining the Advans group, Olivier gained experience with France Active (member of the "Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations" group), the African Microfinance Institutions Network (MAIN) and the Société d'Investissement et de Développement International (SIDI).

wt Willy Tchiengue has over 21 years of professional experience at Société Générale, where he has worked in various functions. He spent 13 years at the investment bank, including 8 years in Paris as a trader on equity derivatives and five in London where he was responsible for a trading desk. Since 2011 his career has focused on retail banking, and more specifically on corporate activity. He managed an SME portfolio for the group in Paris before taking over the SME department of Société Générale Côte d’Ivoire in 2014. Since 2016, he is the Deputy General Manager of YUP for Africa, based in Senegal. Yup is a secure mobile money wallet developed by Société Générale to increase financial inclusion, helping millions of people access a bank account in 7 countries. He graduated from the Management School of Lille, France.