UBA Chairman Patrick Mweheire

Uganda Bankers Association (UBA) is set to hold the second Annual Bankers Conference (ABC) 2018 under the theme: Financial Sector Stability: Managing Risk in a Growing and Fast Changing Environment”.

The one-day conference will be held on Tuesday at Kampala Serena Conference Center, where bankers will discuss strategies aimed at keeping Uganda’s 24 commercial banks stable in the fast changing environment.

The UBA Chairman, Patrick Mweheire said: “The event will bring together regulators, practitioners and various industry experts from international, regional and national spheres involved in facilitating and delivering financial and banking services, to discuss issues, trends, drivers and the dynamics that are increasingly shaping sustainability strategies in banking, finance and the overall development eco system.”

The first conference in 2017 discussed the future of banking and it is against that background that local bankers are building on for this year’s conference, said Patricia Amito Lutwama, the Association’s head for communications and corporate affairs.

“This year’s conference will aim to deliver constructive discussions and recommendations on a range of subject matters affecting the performance and stability of the financial sector at the global, regional as well as domestic level,” she said.

Mweheire said that the banking and overall financial sector environment has witnessed a number of developments, innovations and trends that present opportunities as well as risks. “It is important that in this fast changing environment, we ensure there is both growth and stability,” he said.

He said a number of recent developments emanate from both domestic and external factors. Externally, there is growing uncertainty arising from the shifting geopolitical agenda, skewed towards protectionism, creating an unpredictable environment for players in the financial sector who provide the much-needed financing for cross border operations of multinational companies.

In addition, technological innovations have aided the creation of new digital platforms that present new opportunities, enable reach to previously unserved market segments, widen choices and are available 24/7, but equally present risks that exist in the ICT space.

Mweheire said financial institutions are increasingly depending on ICT for critical aspects of their operations and risks in ICT therefore mean risks to the stability of the financial sector. Domestically, the financial sector has witnessed stress in the recent past leading to closure of some financial institutions.

The amendment of the Financial Institutions Act 2004 and other related legislation have strengthened risk management and provided the environment for the introduction of new products and services while increasing reach and penetration of financial services.

The developments, officials note, have create opportunities for growth as well as disruptions in different magnitudes. “Instability in the financial sector can have far reaching consequences to the wider economy by negatively affecting investment, trade, incomes and has the potential of exacerbating poverty and income inequality,” the UBA officials say.