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IBM announces tech deals with five African banks

IBM Wednesday announced the signing of five strategic agreements in the Kenyan financial services sector, which it said are another example of the growing wave of innovation in African banking.

Additionally, IBM announced a partnership with telecom provider Vodafone to help mobile network provider Safaricom provide its M-PESA mobile money services to over 15 million customers in East Africa.

On the banking front, IBM will provide technology services to five Kenyan banks to support their rapid growth and to help them launch new services such as mobile and internet banking.

The five banks are: Credit Bank; Co-operative Bank; Family Bank; National Bank of Kenya; and National Industrial Credit Bank, IBM said. The agreements are among more than 20 similar deals that IBM has signed with banks across Africa in 2011, it added.

The agreement with Family Bank calls for IBM to support the bank's drive to reach new markets and launch new products and services.

IBM and Credit Bank are creating a new core banking system to allow the bank to rethink business processes and improve operational efficiency. IBM will provide hardware, software and services for the implementation, integration and maintenance of the new system.

National Industrial Credit Bank selected IBM to help streamline its core banking processes and integrate its existing IT infrastructure to drive operational efficiencies and improve customer service.

IBM is providing National Bank of Kenya with IT services, hardware and software as the bank delivers on program of business transformation.

IBM said it supplied Co-Operative Bank with Power servers as well as storage and software as part of a major overhaul of the bank's systems.

"Our investment in IT has helped us achieve our goal to launch a diverse array of innovative, new banking services and reach new parts of society," Gideon Muriuki, Co-operative Bank's managing director, said in a statement.

According to IBM, Africa's financial services sector is currently worth over $100 billion and will continue to grow at double digit percentages through 2020, outpacing gross Africa's domestic product growth. Retail banking, the fastest growing segment, is predicted to grow at 18% annually between 2009 and 2020, as demand for deposit accounts and sophisticated products jumps amid urbanization.

"Africa is currently experiencing strong uptake in banking services in line with the growth of the continent's middle class and the adoption of mobile and internet banking," Anthony Mwai, County General Manager for IBM East Africa, said in a statement.

"Advanced technologies are helping to drive a wave of innovation across the African financial services sector as banks create new and accessible banking channels and take banking services to previously unbanked parts of society," he added.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian , or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .

Read more about financial services in Computerworld's Financial Services Topic Center.


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