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Bank of Botswana Governor, Moses Pelaelo, has issued a warning to commercial banks that the next financial crisis might not be due to common issues such as liquidity or others, but could be effected by cyber-crime which he said could cripple the banking sector. He was speaking on Tuesday this week at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport when officiating at the opening of a new branch by Standard Chartered Bank Botswana. Pelaelo, who was appointed the Governor last month, said while internet has provided opportunities that are meant to be of convenience to customers, the same platform he said has provided opportunities and fertile ground for criminals.
He encouraged the banks to handle the issue of cyber-crime with care or else it will lead to loss of public confidence in commercial banks. The BoB Governor said the issue of cyber-crime should be addressed collectively, urging the banks to come together in areas of information sharing. According to Pelaelo, the local financial markets are fragmented and many people do not have access to financial services. Financial institutions, Pelaelo said, should push for financial inclusion and support economic growth by improving outreach. Besides opening new branches countrywide, he said the banks should also improve on their offerings such online services as well as make investments on infrastructure. Meanwhile, the Standard Chartered airport branch is the 20th of the bank since it first established business in Botswana over 100 years ago.
The bank CEO, Moatlhodi Lekaukau, said since he arrived at Stanchart in 2012, the bank has opened three branches, including the one opened this week which adds to the other at Airport Junction Mall and the other in Francistown. He said before then the last branch was opened in 2003 at Game City mall in Gaborone. Lekaukau said the two branches opened post his arrival have been profitable and he is hoping that the latest one will also be profitable. Stan Chart became the first bank to open a branch at the airport and according to Head of Retail, Pedzani Tafa, it came after many years of intending to do so but was delayed due to issues that have to do with the upgrading of the airport which took a longer than expected.