South Sudan: International banks bring help, but it’s not always appreciated
Education is high on the agenda for some of the banks in South Sudan. Ivory Bank often makes national radio broadcasts on Friday mornings to educate people about their banking products. The South Sudan Micro Finance Development Facility gives grants and loans to microfinance institutions to help them reach potential borrowers. But the lack of human capital in South Sudan creates another barrier to a thriving banking environment. Government regulations state that all banks must employ at least 90% local people, but with only 27% of the population literate, it is difficult to hire the right expertise.
Banks have taken it on themselves to educate their employees. Before Kenya’s CfC Stanbic bank opened last April, all of its employees spent two months in Nairobi for training. Besides the CEO, Charter One Bank has only employed local people and has trained them internally. "But there are banks here that don’t live up to these rules," argues Bruna Siricio Iro, deputy managing director of Ivory Bank. "The Kenyan banks that have set up in South Sudan often employ more Ugandans and Kenyans than they should. We are a South Sudanese bank and we only employ South Sudanese people."