The bank’s Managing Director, Mr. Ammish Owusu-Amoah granted an interview to our Correspondent MOSES FERDINAND where he talks about his plans in Tanzania and several issues pertaining to banking sector in the country. Read on…
Q. Kindly, trace the history of Bank of Africa Tanzania.
A. As a Group, Bank of Africa Tanzania came in the country in 2007 after buying a bank that was called Euro African Bank. Since then there has been a consistent growth and profitability of the bank. We are in our fifth year at the moment.
Q. You are the new Managing Director of Bank of Africa Tanzania; what are your plans and priorities you have for the bank?
A. There are enormous opportunities in the banking industry in Tanzania. Our focus is to develop various products that will meet SMEs market because we believe as the bank that the development of Africa and Tanzania for that matter depends on the SMEs. We are also focusing on retail sector; there are lots of people who are not within the banking sector in Tanzania and we want to introduce products that will ensure that all individuals in the consumer markets are able to bank with us.
We want to develop products in terms of credit as well as in terms liability. Finally, we are also looking into an extent into which we can tap in the expanding mobile money sector because in the East African region and Tanzania this has been a very major area and we want it to be integrated into the banking system.
Q. Recent years saw the Bank of Africa Tanzania expanding its coverage countrywide to meet the growing demand of your customers; how many branches do you have so far and in which regions?
A. We are committed to bringing the banking to the door steps of our clients so that we can be nearer to where they are. Currently, we have ten branches in Dar es Salaam and six branches outside Dar es Salaam in Morogoro, Tunduma, Mwanza, Moshi, Mbeya and Arusha. We are committed to grow further and we are planning to unveil four more branches before the end of this year.
Q. In its five years development plan, the government of Tanzania is committed to revive agriculture and support development of Small and Medium Enterprises. What is your bank’s position in this effort?
A. A bank is focusing on small and medium enterprises. We are also forging partnerships with international development finance institutions like the International Finance Corporation and PROPACO of France who have seen our commitment toward SME market and have given us a total of USD 4.5 million each to develop the SME in Tanzania. We are also looking to agriculture sector. We are committed to be able to develop products that farmers dealing cotton, cashew and clove will have facilities to produce and export. We are in line with the government’s development agenda.
Q. The banking sector in Tanzania has made a significant step in the last decade where presently, there are about 45 operating commercial banks. How far have you prepared yourself to better position in the market?
A. We are very well positioned in the market. Even though the number of banks has increased, we have not lost our market share but rather we have increased it. Our market share has grown up from 1.9 to 2.5 per cent. We believe that we are well positioned. We make sure that we deliver quick turnaround for services. We believe that there are opportunities and as we continue introducing various products for various segments of clients, we will be able to integrate better in to the banking sector.
Q. In your short time since you joined the Bank of Africa Tanzania, how can you describe the banking industry in the country?
A. I think is very competitive but I see a lot of people outside the banking sector and it is important that banks like ours come out with more products and ensure that many people be involved into the sector. We believe that as the government is putting more efforts to stabilize the economy and currency; interest rates will come down and allow many to have access to banking facilities. It is important for interest rates to come down because that is where a lot of people in the private sector can borrow so that development can continue in the country.
Q. This year the Bank of Africa Group decided to have its meeting of directors in Tanzania for the first time. Why in Tanzania?
A. The Group wanted to show that it is committed to market. We are here to stay. We are here to make an impact as Bank of Africa in Tanzania and therefore it was important for other people from other countries where we operate to come here and experience what we are doing and share with us on how to continue grow business in Tanzania.
Q. Tell us your experience in the banking industry.
A. I have worked in the banking sector for over 20 years in various countries such as Ghana, Togo, and involved in projects across other African countries, Asia, and Latin America. I believe that the experience I have gathered can add a lot to what will happen during my stay in Tanzania. I am committed to see to what we can all add to develop the banking sector in this country.