Best Providers of Treasury and Cash Management: Africa

Business and technological advancements are helping African banks and businesses weather the pandemic.

African businesses have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Working capital cycles have been disrupted. Many companies have been forced to seek relief, including debt moratoria and restructuring, as their governments have turned to emergency funding from the African Development Bank and other multinational lenders.

Fortunately, the continent’s major private sector players are applying valuable lessons learned from other crises of recent decades, including drought, armed conflict and epidemics. Guinea’s mining sector, for example, played a role in resolving the Ebola crisis. And the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) should largely open up opportunities.

The cloud is another expected catalyst. The past year has seen an exponential increase in the use of cloud services. Standard Bank, which is the 2021 Global Finance regional winner for Best Bank for Cash Management and Best Bank for Liquidity Management, announced last March that it was moving its core SAP banking systems to the platform. Microsoft Azure cloud.

Digital initiatives such as cash management systems and supply chain finance platforms will have the greatest positive impact on business cash flow in Africa for the foreseeable future and the long term, said Themba Rikhotso, Manager transactional solutions, transactional products and services, South Africa, at Standard Bank.

“These systems are combined with the API [application programming interface] technologies that promote integration with multiple banking platforms in all geographies, integrated with budgeting and procurement systems, ”he notes. “Thus, they are able to provide real-time visibility, focus and cash flow forecasting. The bundling of these functions allows corporate treasuries to discount their own invoices and will, he says, have the greatest impact on corporate treasuries in Africa, providing the much needed relief from their overburdened working capital cycles. . “

Business continuity remains a major concern. Societe Generale, which this year won the titles of best bank in Africa for payments and collections and for exceptional achievements in treasury operations during the Covid-19 pandemic, was able to rely on a long-standing local network dated. “We have also actively promoted alternative banking solutions… preserving our clients’ payment and collection activities while limiting human interactions,” said Alexandre Maymat, head of global transactions and payments services. Based on a network of third-party agents, such as retailers, with whom the bank has partnered to provide products and services, YUP is a contactless mobile wallet that allows businesses to pay money or collect it. with unbanked people.

The limits on physical contact imposed by Covid-19 are also changing the way businesses interact with their banks. “Before the pandemic,” says Rikhotso, “our relationship with our client was highly social, with more emphasis on face-to-face engagements and a lot of physical exchange of documents and other items.” Now, much more of this business is going digital. Some long-standing processes that slowed the response to customer complaints, including terms and conditions that required physical verifications and signatures, quickly changed to allow digital signatures. [such as DocuSign] and other electronic forms of verification.

Customer relationships have remained strong with the shift to digital interaction, as Standard Bank underscores its commitment to continue supporting customers during the pandemic.

“The biggest lesson for us was that the digital transformation journey had to go much faster,” says Rikhotso, “allowing us to free up our teams so that they have time to ask value-added questions and listen to our customers ”. Recent well-received enhancements include the activation of straight-through processing (STP) for outgoing payments and the Swift GPI Tracker, which provides customers with end-to-end payment tracking.

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