Olaka’s Legacy: First green bond and other milestones at KBA

Dr. Habil Olaka, the longstanding CEO of the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), will be bidding farewell to the c-suite office after 14 years of leadership marked by key industry milestones.

His departure, effective 31 March 2024, marks the end of an era for the banking industry lobby. Dr. Olaka assumed the role of CEO in 2010 and is leaving some impactful initiatives that have helped shape banking in Kenya during his tenure.

In a statement issued by Mr. John Gachora, the Chairman of the KBA Governing Council and Group Managing Director of NCBA Group, Mr. Raimond Molenje will assume the lobby’s leadership as the acting CEO, effective 1st April 2024.

Molenje has been working as the Association’s Director of Legal, Human Resources, and Policy Advocacy, and will lead the organization during the transition period before the appointment of a substantive CEO.

Olaka’s legacy

Dr. Olaka’s leadership has been instrumental in shaping the Association’s strategic direction, advocating for industry development, and driving sustainability initiatives.

His tenure saw the reinforcement of KBA’s role as a reputable industry leader, fostering collaborations with the Government, the Central Bank of Kenya, and other stakeholders to promote sustainable development and inclusive socio-economic growth.

Among his achievements, Dr. Olaka led the introduction of the Sustainable Finance Initiative (SFI) in 2015, supporting member banks in creating long-term value for the economy, society, and the environment.

Under his stewardship, KBA issued the first Green Bond in Kenya and the East African region in 2019, showcasing the industry’s commitment to sustainable financing.

During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Olaka played a pivotal role in coordinating industry-led mitigations by member banks, preventing the health crisis from evolving into a financial crisis.

Read also: Kenyan banking industry on edge as cash reserves decrease

Automated Clearing House

His leadership also led to the conceptualization and implementation of PesaLink, a real-time payment services solution that revolutionized the banking industry in Kenya.

Additionally, Dr. Olaka oversaw the establishment of an Automated Clearing House and cheque processing system, significantly reducing the cheque clearing time from four days to one day, enhancing efficiency and customer satisfaction within the banking sector.

Mr. Gachora acknowledged Dr. Olaka’s leadership, which has driven growth and achieved helped the industry register growth milestones for banks, the financial sector, and the economy.

“Under Dr. Olaka’s leadership, KBA has continued to reinforce a reputable and professional banking sector that best supports Kenyans,” Mr. Gachora noted.

Reflecting on his tenure, Dr. Olaka expressed gratitude for the opportunity to lead and transform KBA into a formidable financial sector advocacy group.

He thanked the KBA, Governing Council, member banks, CBK leadership, stakeholders, and KBA staff for their support throughout his tenure.

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