Social media has been identified as an effective tool for expanding financial inclusion among Kenyans, especially the youth.
Equity Bank Chairman and CEO, Dr. James Mwangi, said social networks have the potential of empowering the youth economically by enhancing their access to financial products and services.
Dr. Mwangi said social media has established strong links to how people use their money and can be exploited by the banking industry to promote savings culture and enhance access to credit.
“With increased internet penetration more people are using Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram to research and buy products and services. Financial services offered through the various social networks have begun to take off and this will enhance financial inclusion,” he said.
Dr. Mwangi was speaking in his office when he received the Olx Social Media Awards (SOMA) trophy after Equity Bank Kenya was voted the winner of the Financial Services Award under the Social Corporate Category.
The annual Awards are used as a platform to celebrate individuals and corporate institutions which have contributed towards improvement of lives through good use of various social media platforms.
Dr. Mwangi said the bank will continue to invest heavily in a strong online communications infrastructure and human resource to manage its digital platforms.
“Equity Bank is building on the links between social networks and payments to enhance customer experience through introduction of new applications and services. This will definitely boost our online presence,” said he said.
Kenya’s internet penetration currently stands at 54.8% of the population or 22.3 million internet users, which is above the global average, according to the 2015 economic survey released by the Kenya Bureau of Statistics in April.
This growth has been attributed to increased affordability of Internet services as provided by ISPs which has seen a reduction in the cost of online browsing.
The Director of the Kenya Social Media Awards, the organizers of Olx SOMA, Mr. Martin Muli, challenged corporate organisations to contribute to the growth of social media by employing community managers to manage their brand reputation online.
“Awards are not just about looking back on a job well done: awards have much more positive effect on a brand going forward, not least by helping to attract new clients and making service delivery more efficient and a good experience,” he said.
The theme for this year’s Awards was “Social Media and Economic Empowerment”, highlighting the need to harness the various social media networks to create employment and empower Kenyans economically.