African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Directors has approved a grant of $1.024 million for artificial intelligence enabled systems to process customer complaints on behalf of the national banks of Ghana and Rwanda and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission of Zambia.
The grant resources are from the special fund of the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a financing vehicle to accelerate digital financial inclusion across Africa.
ADFI is a pan-African instrument designed to accelerate digital financial inclusion throughout Africa, with the goal of ensuring that an additional 332 million Africans (60% of them women) have access to the formal economy.
The Facility was formally launched in June 2019 at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. The current ADFI partners are the French Development Agency (AFD); the French Treasury’s Ministry of Economy and Finance; Government of Luxembourg’s Ministry of Finance; the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and the African Development Bank, which also hosts the fund.
The project will however establish a complaints-handling system for the financial regulators, using multi-lingual chatbots and artificial intelligence that will interface with key financial service providers in the three countries.
The system will incorporate key local languages for ease of use, record customer complaints, including audio complaints from those unable to read and write, and track their resolution.
The project is expected to yield three results: improve the tracking of customer complaints made to financial services providers; strengthen the support for marginalised groups, which will build confidence in the use of financial services; and improve the collection of consistent data to be used for the development or improvement of consumer-protection policies.
ADFI’s Coordinator, Sheila Okiro, says “facilitation of sound policies and regulations, including those that enhance consumer protection and catalyse financial inclusion, is a key mandate for ADFI. With the proliferation of digital financial services, the financial industry needs innovative mechanisms for customer recourse and tracking for regulators. The Sinitic project is one such solution.”
The system will be developed by Sinitic Africa in collaboration with BFA a leading consultancy firm specializing in human-centred design and DFS regulation.
Sinitic Africa is a subsidiary of Sinitic Inc., a financial technology firm based in Canada. The two companies have already worked together to develop and successfully deploy a similar project for the Philippines’ central bank.
Sinitic Africa (Pty) is a fully owned subsidiary of Sinitic Inc., a Canadian financial technology company that develops localized AI-based solutions to improve customer experience.
The Sinitic solution will be deployed in the three target countries in the following languages: Kinyarwanda, Swahili, French and English in Rwanda; English and Nyanja/Chewa in Zambia; English, and Twi in Ghana.