CBK gover­nor is build­ing a ro­bust bank­ing sec­tor

The Star (Kenya) - - News -

t is some­times easy to for­get that the phe­nom­e­non of the real time of Twit­ter and so­cial me­dia in gen­eral is a very re­cent one. The ve­loc­ity of change in this re­gard has been men­tioned by Paul Vir­ilio who said: “Speed now il­lu­mi­nates re­al­ity whereas light once gave ob­jects of the world their shape.”

The new dig­i­tal uni­verse has en­gulfed the world and Kenya is no ex­cep­tion.

I de­scribed Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump as a 21st lin­guis­tic war­fare spe­cial­ist, and he used lin­guis­tic war­fare to dev­as­tat­ing ef­fect. The names he gave his op­po­nents — Crooked Hil­lary, Lyin’ Ted, Lit­tle Marco, ‘Low-en­ergy’ Jeb — were dev­as­tat­ing.

Tra­di­tional me­dia has been dis­rupted, and Trump and the Brexit con­firm that dis­rup­tion and how in­sur­gents can broad­cast live, and di­rect, and over the top.

Comic-turned-politi­cian Beppe Grillo, co­founder of Five Star, said: “This is the de­fla­gra­tion of an epoch. It’s the apoc­a­lypse of this in­for­ma­tion sys­tem, of the TVs, of the big news­pa­pers, of the in­tel­lec­tu­als, of the jour­nal­ists.”

I have watched cen­tral bankers for eter­nity. I ran in­ter­est rate trad­ing desks, and the cen­tral banker tends to be the lynch-pin when it comes to in­ter­est rates. The cen­tral banker sits at the apex of the bank­ing sys­tem and so much hinges on his or her skill. The cen­tral banker can be de­scribed as some­one hold­ing a Faberge egg as all and sundry try and jos­tle and make him spill the egg. To­day, a cen­tral banker has to nav­i­gate through an en­tirely dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment – an en­vi­ron­ment where per­sonal abuse is con­sid­ered par for the course in this new world of Trump.

Dr Patrick Njoroge, who is the gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Kenya, is a Ro­man Catholic and a nu­mer­acy mem­ber of Opus Dei. Dr Njoroge’s cre­den­tials are im­pec­ca­ble, and the way he con­ducts his per­sonal life should surely be a lodestar for the pub­lic ser­vice here in Kenya and the African con­ti­nent. There­fore, the first point to note is that launch­ing a real-time lin­guis­tic war­fare cam­paign on the gover­nor and the Cen­tral Bank at this junc­ture is in­ac­cu­rate, un­fair, and in fact in­im­i­cal to the national in­ter­est. The gover­nor is de­ter­mined to bring the bank­ing sec­tor un­der con­trol. What is clear is that the panoply of state in­sti­tu­tions have been slow to en­gage at the same speed.

The bank­ing sec­tor re­mains fluid and multi-sided, and con­fi­dence has frayed – and un­der­stand­ably – but as Dr Njoroge said dur­ing the Chase Bank saga: “None of us have a right to shout fire in a crowded the­atre; and this is what happened. We had some in­di­vid­u­als who did shout fire and to me that was very reck­less be­cause no bank can sus­tain the pres­sure of ev­ery­one try­ing to with­draw their money at once.”

As we scan the bank­ing hori­zon, we can safely say that pa­per and dig­i­tal trails are im­pos­si­ble to ex­punge. The foren­sics will have the fi­nal word. We have now en­tered a ‘’man­aged’’ process of con­sol­i­da­tion. We are surely en­ter­ing a new era.

Con­doleezza Rice spoke of ‘’the birth pangs of a new Mid­dle East’’. Post the in­ter­est rate bill and the Dubai, Im­pe­rial and Chase Bank de­vel­op­ments, we are also watch­ing the birth pangs of a new bank­ing sec­tor here in Kenya. It is im­pos­si­ble for me to imag­ine a more qual­i­fied sur­geon than Dr Njoroge to man­age this. This is a fact. There­fore, lets not lose sight of the main goal which is a ro­bust bank­ing sec­tor op­ti­mised to pro­pel Kenya inc into the future.

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