Cameroon has rolled out a computerized system called the National Banking File System which is intended to enhance transparency in banking transactions in the country, as well as easy access to information and offers of these outfits to their clients.

Cameroon’s Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze launched the platform on 25 August and said it was a milestone in the country’s efforts at digitizing and modernizing its financial sector. The system has been designed to automatically collect, analyze, and share data, thereby ridding the financial landscape of certain man-made hurdles.

Cameroon's Finance Minister Louis Paul Motaze speaking as he launched the new computerized system on 25 August 2020 in Yaounde, Cameroon.

The tool will keep better check on suspicious financial transactions

Also, the new tool will make it more difficult for banks and microfinance institutions to indulge in or cover up shady deals, as Finance Ministry officials will be able to monitor, track and punish questionable financial transactions.

Motaze announced that there shall be a nationwide campaign in the country’s ten administrative regions to sensitize various actors on the advantages of the platform. It was conceived by the Economic and Financial Commission of Cameroon (CNEF).

Thanks to the system, which has been built on six components, banks and microfinance institutions will also be able to enjoy the automatic collection of useful data from their clients. This means they can have access to useful information about borrowers and other users of their services to make the best decisions on their operations.

The software will address serious problems in Cameroon's banking sector

Experts familiar with the software say it will, among other things, also go a long way in addressing some of the serious problems plaguing the country’s financial sector such as the difficulty to access loans by many Cameroonians as well as non-cash payments.

They add that with the tool, stakeholders can easily get access to banking information with just the click of a computer mouse, as opposed to standing on long queues in office corridors to get such information in the past.

The National Banking File has been put in place as part of the financial reforms recommended by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) where Cameroon is said to be the biggest economy.

The six components on which the platform is built include the payment incidence unit, the national bank file for enterprises, the analysis and follow-up framework for microfinance institutions, the microfinance risk department, the national directory for public securities, and an archiving application. All actors, except those working directly with the Bank of Central African States (BEAC), would need authorization from CNEF to use the software, Finance Ministry officials have said.

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