Deloitte Consultant seeks greater inclusion in financial services across Africa

31 August 2018 3 min. read
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A Consultant in the Strategy & Innovation division at Deloitte’s Johannesburg outfit, Zimbabwean Bheki Sipithi has announced his mission to spread financial services to the more remote corners of the African continent, and hopes to complete an MBA from Oxford to obtain the skills required to achieve his goal.

As the business environment across Africa becomes increasingly vibrant, the financial services segment is expanding in tandem. However, in a region where resources are situated inequitably, the uniform and steady expansion of the financial services sector becomes a challenging scenario.

Bheki Sipithi of Deloitte is hoping to work towards solving this problem. Hailing from Zimbabwe, Sipithi obtained a Bachelors in Commerce in South Africa, and was subsequently employed in Deloitte’s South Africa operations as an Auditor. Having moved through the ranks of Trainee Accountant, Assistant Audit Manager and now consultant, Sipithi is ready for a more fulfilling challenge in his career.

Sipithi views the expansion of financial services across Africa as a puzzle of sorts, which involves thinking out of the box to make the most out of limited resources. A major source of motivation for him is his father’s work in the same field, based on the principle that even those with a lack of resources are in dire need of financial services.

Deloitte Consultant seeks greater inclusion in financial services across Africa

To help with this mission, Sipithi is now looking to build expertise in the field of development finance, and is applying to a number of top programmes for an MBA in the same. His top priority is Oxford, primarily due to the fact that the programme there offers exceptional networking opportunities, which is essential to his goal.

Currently, Sipithi works in the Strategy & Innovation division at Deloitte, specifically in the Energy & Resources team. With experience in the energy sector, he is ideally situated to deal with an area of particular resource inequality, given that energy infrastructure in the remote areas of Africa is severely lacking in investment.

A number of initiatives from international institutions as well as from the US have created an environment to fill this funding gap, which means Sipithi will have strong support. However, his intentions for the equitable distribution of financial services extend to the micro level, with aims to improve individual access as well.

“I think a problem we have with financial systems in Africa is that, to access the full breadth of services, you've got to be in a major city. If you're elsewhere, all you are certain to get is a bank account, maybe SMS banking at best, and all you use that bank account for is to get your salary and withdraw it,” he explains.

Commenting on the inspiration drawn from his father’s work, he continued, “My father used to work at a Zimbabwean bank called the PSB (formerly the Post Office Savings Bank). Their mandate was to research and provide financial services to the most remote and rural parts of the country. The bank was developed by leveraging off the network of the post office so people could get cash and make transactions. They're a state-owned entity and their mandate is still the same, to try and encourage financial inclusion as much as possible.”