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Page last updated
January 26, 2003




Technology for a developing continent


Africa has been a very important market over the last few years for both treasury and Clearing House applications. Customers have to rely on professional software development capability to provide software of high quality to match their needs. The treasury area in Africa is in its infancy for professional solutions, but is one that is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.

A major leading-edge technology standardisation project for Africa aims to integrate the latest quality technologies into the day-to-day running of the treasury operations in a selected number of territories, in order to achieve a standardisation throughout the network of branches. Ultimately this will create a much faster and more efficient operation, not just for today, but far into the future. Many Banks operate their Treasury business using manual and paper based processes which is inefficient. To streamline a number of processes in these Treasury Operations centralising the core dealing activity, improving the quality of risk management data and tightening the security controls is necessary and important for any treasury operation.

Over the past three years, deployment to a variety of different sectors, changing manual, labour-intensive processes, which were prone to fraud, into streamlined and secure operations. Treasury departments all over Africa and the Middle East now have a central database with all Treasury transactions available for interrogation and analysis.

All installed sites require systems to supply the day-to-day 'business as usual' position required. Although Africa is just beginning, where banking technology is concerned, all financial institutions are looking forward to new technological enhancements to systems such as new accounting interfaces and web-based, on-line trading facilities.

A leading software house based in West Africa required a key element in a much larger comprehensive banking system. The software company concerned licensed our treasury product to complete the fundamentals of their new system having previously agreed a similar deal with a US company to provide the source code of a retail banking solution. This is set to create much interest upon its completion.

Recently, the Kenya Bankers Association requested a Clearing House solution for Kenya, in 1997 a system was delivered on time and to budget. This solution allowed the Nairobi Clearing House to process cheque and electronic credit clearing for approximately 60 clearing banks.

In Tanzania, the Clearing Houses are currently manual and are being modernised in line with the overall vision and strategy of the Bank of Tanzania's National Payment System modernisation initiative . All appropriate existing manual processes will be migrated to the new system to provide an improved level of service, automate the settlement process, automatically produce inward clearing electronic data files, assist in the reducing of value dates and provide a scaleable platform to integrate additional planned electronic payment settlement services.

The overall primary objective of the National Payment System modernisation project is to put in place modernised payment arrangements and mechanisms. In particular it intends to reduce float, speed up the circulation of funds and increase the efficiency of funds transmission. It will also improve convenience and service to users nation-wide, providing a reliable, secure and integrated payment, clearing and settlement system that meets the needs of a changing and growing economy. The system will expand flexibly to suit Tanzanian conditions by allowing for the integration of future services such as ATM's, credit, debit, smart cards and other transactions, electronic commerce, securities settlement transactions and large value time critical payments.

The market for Clearing House solutions is a growing market within the countries of Africa with Botswana and Swaziland also evaluating proposals. Other East African countries are likely to require a suitable clearing infrastructure in place over the next few years, and is a commitment to assisting those countries to meet both their existing needs for cheque clearing but also to handle future settlement services. Security is of paramount importance in clearing operations with interfaces which provide RSA digital signature solutions from one of the specialist providers.

dbs Financial Systems Ltd (dbs) has been in the business of developing standard and bespoke systems for the international financial market-place since 1983, most notably with its range of dbsDealManager treasury products.

The company's consultancy and bespoke development services have been used by many "blue-chip" clients including Apple Computers (UK and USA), Barclays Bank (World-wide), IBM (UK) and GPT/Siemens (UK).

Our priority has always been to respond quickly to the evolving trends of the market and at the same time maintaining a commitment to provide effective and reliable systems that support the latest trading methods being adopted by the financial markets.

This commitment was recognised by one of the world's largest banks who selected the company to work closely alongside the innovators of a new financial instrument, helping them to develop a package supporting an entirely new method of currency trading.

The ability to work on new products with major organisations, speeds and refines product development programmes. Joint projects serve as a test-bed for many of the principles we employ in writing systems and help to pinpoint user priorities while developing standard packages.

To work and support our system developments it is necessary to have a broad range of experience to offer prospective clients. The skills and experience gained over the years, has placed us in an ideal position to be able to offer potential clients competitively priced bespoke development capabilities in many disciplines.

We operate on a multi-stage project approach, whereby customers are always given a fixed-price for the phase in hand together with soft estimates for future phases. At the end of any given phase, part of the deliverables include a fixed-price for the next phase. In this way customers always have a clear, but limited, commitment. With each phase being a self-contained unit, customers have the option of termination at the end of any phase.

We do not supply hardware of any type, and are therefore able to offer unbiased recommendations when potential clients are considering the development of new systems.

dbs has had active project experience covering a wide area from General Financial, Foreign Exchange and Money Market Dealing, Clearing House Systems, Payroll and Human Resources, Telecommunications, and Education. Most applications are developed for IBM-compatible PC workstations on a Local Area Network, running within the Microsoft Windows environment.

After Sales Service/Training
When standard or bespoke systems are installed, specific training can be offered, either at the customer site or at our head office in the United Kingdom. Training of a more general nature can be arranged, based on a broad array of subjects.

It is very easy to forget sometimes that the state-of-the-art hardware and software used on a daily basis, whether it be in the general office of a small business or on the dealing room floor of an international bank, is only as good as the advice and backup support received after the product has been installed.

Support and training issues are taken very seriously and considered to be as important as the product itself. Through a dedicated team of support specialists and technical consultants, speed and efficiency can always be relied upon.

Our fully automated and equipped, Technical Support Department ensures that all queries are dealt with in the fastest possible time because we know it can create a major impact if delivery is not met.

Daryl Walmsley
Managing Director


Africa Giant
Developing continent
Electronic banking




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