Tanzania’s largest bank with a digital platform and expanding footprint in Eastern Africa, CRDB Bank is supporting the country’s Vision 2025 economic goals through efforts to reduce income inequality, emerging cross-border partnerships and innovative financial solutions to drive customer profitability.
Global Finance: The World Bank upgraded Tanzania’s economy in 2020 – what is driving the nation’s economic growth?
CRDB Bank: Tanzania is among Africa’s fastest-growing economies, with nearly 7% GDP growth in the last decade, driven by agriculture and the service sectors. The World Bank’s elevation of Tanzania to lower-middle-income economy status points to strong growth prospects, stimulated by increased public investments in infrastructure and agriculture.
With a strong commitment to economic development, Tanzania is a potential economic powerhouse, given its natural resources and geostrategic position as a gateway to Eastern Africa. Tanzania’s growing educated population will also provide enhanced capabilities that can accelerate growth in the next decade.
Like many developing economies, Tanzania faces various economic challenges. Income inequality is the biggest impediment to growth and, despite economic progress, Tanzania is experiencing a widening gap between the lower middle class and poor households.
The Vision 2025 economic development blueprint addresses some of these pervasive challenges and envisions high-quality livelihoods as the foundation for a strong, competitive economy. To actualize this vision, the government is making sustained initiatives, underlined by strategic investments in key sectors of the economy.
GF: How is CRDB Bank supporting Tanzania’s Vision 2025 goals?
CRDB: Tanzania’s agriculture sector is at the core of the national strategy to reduce income inequality. CRDB has a longstanding program supporting the agriculture value chain, which is key to transforming individual livelihoods.
We believe education is vital to levelling income inequality and is the best avenue for addressing challenges in the broader community. CRDB supports government investments in education through public-private partnerships and funding key infrastructure projects within the education sector.
Through our social investment programs, CRDB also provides material donations and scholarships to give deserving students access to education, opening the door to new opportunities for success in life.
To stimulate Tanzania’s economic growth, CRDB is at the forefront of government infrastructure projects, including the Standard Gause Railway, expansion of airports, and construction of the country’s largest hydropower project, which is expected to boost the country power generation capacity by more than 2000 megawatts and make the country energy sufficient.
GF: What opportunities are emerging for CRBD in Tanzania and East Africa?
CRBD: As the largest bank in Tanzania with a footprint in Burundi and expansion plans for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), CRDB is strategically positioned to steer enterprise growth in the region through responsible credit. We are developing solutions to support regional innovations with a focus on the SME sectors.
CRDB is benefiting from strengthening bilateral relations with our neighbouring countries, particularly the DRC. Our goal is to be the main financial intermediary for cross-border trade between Tanzania and the DRC, which relies on our port of Dar es Salaam for imports and exports. Recent transport infrastructure improvements present unique growth opportunities.
In addition, our strategic partnerships with key financial services and tech players are shaping our investment decisions to ensure we provide innovative solutions to meet evolving marketplace demand. As a result, we are championing innovation in the financial services sector, leveraging our extensive footprint and tech capability.
GF: How has digitalization transformed CRDB Bank’s operations, products & services and market strategy?
CRDB: We are a digital bank. Since embarking on our digital transformation a little over two years ago, we have digitized nearly 70% of our processes. Our vision for CRDB is to become an efficient, fully digitized banking ecosystem offering a unique customer experience.
Our digitalization has improved efficacy and customer satisfaction and significantly lowered our cost of business, reducing operating expenses by nearly 30%.
During the pandemic, our tech capabilities enabled us to quickly adapt and scale our services so we could continue to serve customers via digital channels. Amid disruptions, our redundant network and scalable systems allowed us to securely deploy both mobile and web-based solutions.
As the pandemic pushed the region to rethink business processes, we were also challenged to provide new financial services beyond traditional lending. CRDB is collaborating with various partners, including fintechs and mobile network operators, to develop innovative solutions to our customers’ business challenges.
To compete globally, CRDB is upscaling digital capabilities, including integrating the latest technologies such as AI and Robotic Process Automation.
As Tanzania’s businesses embark on their own digital journeys, digitalization is driving new opportunities for Tanzania’s economy. CRDB is focused on providing reliable digital financial solutions to support our customers’ business success and contribute to Tanzania’s long-term economic growth.