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Interview with Odunayo Akinyede Managing Director of GTBank Tanzania

Odunayo Akinyede MD of GTBANK Tanzania

TanzaniaInvest sat down with Odunayo Akinyede, Managing Director of GTBank Tanzania, one of Africa’s leading banking groups with a widespread presence across 11 countries in Africa and since 2018, Tanzania.

In this interview, Odunayo shares valuable insights into the bank’s strategy in Tanzania, with products and services that meet the specific needs of Tanzanian customers, embracing technological innovation, and fostering financial inclusion, to make a lasting impact on the socio-economic development of Tanzania.

TanzaniaInvest: Why did GTBank choose to enter the Tanzanian market?

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Odunayo Akinyede: Our decision to venture into Tanzania was driven by the country’s promising potential, including its abundant resources and sustained economic growth.

It all started in 2014 when GTBank decided to step into the vibrant East African market by acquiring Fina Bank. This strategic move marked our entry into Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, strengthening our commitment to the region. As we witnessed the immense potential and continuous economic growth in Tanzania, we realized the importance of extending our reach even further. Consequently, we made a decision to enter Tanzania, solidifying our presence in East Africa.

“As we witnessed the immense potential and continuous economic growth in Tanzania,we made a decision to enter [this market], solidifying our presence in East Africa.”

TanzaniaInvest: What does Tanzania represent within the Group’s operations?

Odunayo Akinyede: For us, Tanzania represents a gateway to a new avenue of growth and impact. The country’s thriving sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing create a conducive environment for our banking activities. By tapping into these sectors, we aim to foster economic development, facilitate trade, and empower individuals, businesses, and communities across Tanzania.

“Tanzania’s thriving sectors such as agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing create a conducive environment for our banking activities.”

We are committed to leveraging Tanzania’s economic potential, building lasting relationships, and contributing to the country’s overall progress while upholding our mission of being a trusted financial partner in the region.

But it doesn’t stop there. We genuinely care about the people of Tanzania. Our goal is to empower individuals, businesses, and communities by providing innovative and customer-centric financial services. We want to foster economic development, promote financial inclusion, and support local entrepreneurship.

“We want to foster economic development, promote financial inclusion, and support local entrepreneurship.”

TanzaniaInvest: How would you assess GTBank’s results in Tanzania to date?

Odunayo Akinyede: Since entering Tanzania, GTBank has made notable strides in establishing its presence and making a meaningful impact.

We have successfully navigated the intricacies of the local banking landscape, adapting our offerings to meet the specific needs and preferences of Tanzanian customers. By understanding the unique dynamics of the Tanzanian market, we have been able to tailor our products and services to cater to the diverse financial requirements of both individuals and businesses.

Our institution’s emphasis on customer-centricity has played a pivotal role in its success in Tanzania. We have prioritized providing exceptional service and fostering long-term relationships with our customers. By delivering personalized solutions, innovative digital banking platforms, and efficient customer support, we continue to establish ourselves as a trusted financial partner in Tanzania.

In terms of market penetration, we have managed to expand our footprint across the country, extending our reach to key cities and regions. Through a strategic network of branches and ATMs, GTBank has ensured accessibility and convenience for customers, further enhancing our competitive edge in the Tanzanian market.

“In terms of market penetration, we have managed to expand our footprint across Tanzania, extending our reach to key cities and regions.”

Our overall performance in Tanzania demonstrates positive signs. Our prudent risk management practices, coupled with our ability to capitalize on market opportunities, have contributed to sustainable growth and profitability.

TanzaniaInvest: Can you comment on GTBank Tanzania’s performance in Q1 2023?

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Odunayo Akinyede: We had a successful quarter, achieving a Profit After Tax (PAT) of TZS 90 Million. This impressive result can be attributed to the growth of our revenue lines and a significant decrease in operating expenses, mainly due to lower depreciation costs compared to previous years.

“We had a successful quarter, achieving a Profit After Tax (PAT) of TZS 90 Million. This impressive result can be attributed to the growth of our revenue lines and a significant decrease in operating expenses.”

Currently, in May 2023, Tanzania has a total of 47 licensed banks, with 34 of them being commercial banks. This indicates that the banking sector in Tanzania is quite competitive, with several players vying for market share. However, despite the competition, we have managed to stand out and excel in the industry.

Our most profitable products include USSD Banking, GTWorld Tanzania, GAPS, Personal Loans, Foreign Operations, Bid, Bonds, and Guarantee Line.

Looking ahead, we are optimistic about our future growth prospects. We have identified opportunities for expansion and are actively working towards capitalizing on them. Our goal is to continue providing exceptional services and innovative solutions to our customers while staying ahead of market trends.

TanzaniaInvest: What are GTBank Tanzania’s competitive advantages?

Odunayo Akinyede: At GTBank Tanzania, we pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service, efficient digital processes, continuous innovation, and flexible procedures. These pillars form the foundation of our competitive advantage.

When it comes to customer service, we go above and beyond to ensure that each interaction is met with excellence. Our dedicated team is committed to understanding and meeting the unique needs of our customers, providing them with personalized solutions and support every step of the way.

We recognize the importance of digitalization in today’s fast-paced world. We have made substantial investments in our digital platforms, ensuring seamless integration with all major third-party payment platforms. This enables our customers to conveniently make payments from wherever they may be, with utmost ease and simplicity. Our commitment to providing a smooth, secure, and efficient payment experience is at the core of our digital strategy, making banking hassle-free and accessible for everyone.

Innovation is at the core of what we do. We believe in pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. Our team is constantly seeking ways to improve and enhance our products and services, ensuring that our customers have access to the latest advancements in banking.

We understand that flexibility is key to meeting the diverse needs of our customers. That’s why we have designed our procedures to be adaptable and tailored to individual preferences. Whether it’s opening an account, applying for a loan, or managing investments, we aim to provide a hassle-free and customized experience.

At GTBank Tanzania, our commitment to customer service excellence, digitalization, innovation, and flexibility sets us apart.

TanzaniaInvest: What are GTBank Tanzania’s ambitions and strategy for the next few years? What are the main challenges ahead?

Odunayo Akinyede: Our main challenge at GTBank Tanzania revolves around the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in the financial industry. However, with the introduction of the Tanzania Instant Payments System (TIPS), all financial service providers can now offer the necessary services instantly. As a result, our bank aims to enhance its presence in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Retail sectors, recognizing their significance in shaping the future of the country.

“Our bank aims to enhance its presence in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and Retail sectors, recognizing their significance in shaping the future of the country.”

We firmly believe that SMEs are the backbone of our economy, driving innovation, creating jobs, and contributing to sustainable growth. By providing tailored financial solutions and empowering SMEs with the tools they need to thrive, we aim to foster their success and contribute to the overall development of the country.

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The Bank plans to create additional products specifically designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These products will help with various aspects such as cash collection, business planning, business management, and digital facility requests and disbursements.

TanzaniaInvest: What is GTBank Tanzania doing to promote financial inclusion and competitive lending rates?

Odunayo Akinyede: We strive to offer our customers the most competitive rates in the market. Our commitment to adhering to lending regulations ensures that we can provide our customers with these attractive rates. We understand the importance of providing excellent value for financial needs, and that’s why we work diligently to deliver the best rates possible.

“We strive to offer our customers the most competitive rates in the market.”

TanzaniaInvest: Based on your experience in other countries, what are the idiosyncrasies of the banking sector in Tanzania? What are the major challenges and opportunities that banks are facing in Tanzania?

Odunayo Akinyede: One of the major challenges for banks in Tanzania is the issue of non-performing loans. In order to minimize the occurrence of bad loans and prevent fund diversion, it is crucial for us (banks) in Tanzania to align and harmonize our credit policies. By working together, we can achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness in managing credit risks. This collaboration will enable us to enhance the overall stability of the banking sector and promote responsible lending practices.

Another challenge is the rapid advancement of technology and the need for banks to keep up with digital transformation. We have to understand that embracing innovative solutions, such as mobile banking and online transactions while maintaining robust security measures is vital in meeting customer expectations and staying competitive in the market.

TanzaniaInvest: Do you expect consolidation to take place in the Tanzanian banking sector?

Odunayo Akinyede: Over the years, we have witnessed a number of banks coming together for various reasons, and I firmly believe that this trend will persist, with more banks opting for consolidation.

TanzaniaInvest: According to the IMF, the Tanzanian economy is expected to accelerate its growth with a GDP growth rate of 5.2% in 2023 and 6.2% in 2024. Looking to the future, which economic sectors do you see as the biggest opportunities for investors in Tanzania?

Odunayo Akinyede: I believe there are three key economic sectors that present significant opportunities for investors in Tanzania. These sectors are agriculture, tourism, and construction.

“I believe there are three key economic sectors that present significant opportunities for investors in Tanzania: agriculture, tourism, and construction.”

TanzaniaInvest: What role does GTBank Tanzania aim to play in the socio-economic development of Tanzania?

One of our primary objectives is to support the growth of various businesses in Tanzania. We recognize that businesses, whether small or large, are the backbone of any thriving economy. Our digitized services will continue to enable individuals and businesses to conduct banking activities conveniently, saving them time and effort. By promoting the adoption of digital banking solutions, we aim to contribute to the growth of a cashless economy, reducing costs, enhancing transparency, and fostering financial inclusion.

“By promoting the adoption of digital banking solutions, we aim to contribute to the growth of a cashless economy, reducing costs, enhancing transparency, and fostering financial inclusion.”

We also recognize our responsibility to give back to society. Through our corporate social responsibility initiatives, we actively participate in community development programs. We invest in education, healthcare, environmental sustainability, and other social causes to make a positive impact on the lives of Tanzanians.

We are proud to be a trusted partner in driving Tanzania’s progress towards a brighter future.

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