A pan-African group NSI is set to establish a base in Nairobi to fill the gap left by De La Rue, which has announced plans to free Kenyan operations by March 31.
A statement from NSI Group chairman Richard Michel said it was to start an office in Nairobi in April.
“We are keen on expanding our business by starting a branch in Kenya,” Mr Michel said.
NSI is a pan-African group dedicated to the production, personalisation, management and distribution of secured documents /media and electronic money support and solutions.
Founded in 2003 in Kigali, NSI has gradually extended its geographic presence in Africa through the creation of several subsidiaries.
NSI exists in Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, DR Congo and Djibouti, It currently supplies cheques to 60 banks.
NSI will also produce other security documents for government and non-government certified ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 14298 and ISO 27001.
NSI is also producing cards for different banks and possesses different digital banking channels for small- and medium-sized financial institutions.
In Kenya, NSI is supplying cheques to Equity Bank, KCB, DTB, NCBA, and I&M Bank
It created the Burundi subsidiary in 2006 and in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2011, Tanzania (2017) and Djibouti (2019).
The NSI Group’s development project has also been focusing on expanding its activities in French-speaking countries in the west and central part of the continent including Congo Brazzaville, Bénin, Cameroun, Gabon, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo.
The move by De La Rue to quit the Kenyan market is, however, said to have hastened efforts by NSI to enter Kenya.
De La Rue’s move, which caught the financial sector by surprise, has resulted in a shortage of bank cheques.
NSI says it is keen on contributing to the development of electronic payments in Africa by providing financial institutions, and in particular MFIs, with a complete ‘plug and play’ service and offers to launch a wide range of electronic payment products.
In a statement, NSI also said it seeks to offer institutions a wide range of secure documents adapted to their budget, allowing them to guarantee the authenticity of the documents issued by their services.
It also aims at drastically reducing the time it takes to make cards and checkbooks available and to help control the cost of secure cards and documents so that they are accessible to as many people as possible, especially the unbanked.
NSI further strives to provide technological, organizational, procedural and commercial solutions to financial institutions wishing to initiate/accelerate their Digital Transformation with a modern mobile payment/electronic payment offer; and thus to become a certified reference player with a quality of service at the best international standard.
It includes printing and personalization of checks, banking documents, secure administrative documents, security printings, logistic forms, cards printing and personalization, processing and mobile money and E-payments.
Being a leading provider of secure administrative documents, NSI Group further offers stickers for African visas for instance in Mozambique, Gabon, Cameroon, secures voter cards for elections – (Democratic Republic of Congo, Togo) and police and military entitlement cards in the DRC.
It also secured cards for the military census conducted by NSI Group in Burundi (2008), and secured ballots for Nigeria’s elections (2015).
The DRC’s Ministry of Budget selected NSI Group as its strategic partner to guide the National Procurement and Printing Department toward further professional development in the coordination, production and delivery of all (secure) printed materials for the country’s administrations, public services and institutions.
“NSI Group is committed to working with its partners to meet the expectations of countries in terms of security of all valuable administrative documents. The main task is to design and produce security prints for various public services for various public services of the State and the private sector, whose counterfeiting and falsification or alteration are made difficult by means of appropriate technical processes and secure storage,” it said.
Banknote printer De La Rue has announced it was releasing close to 300 employees following the freeze of Kenya operations on low business as the multinational firm prepares a fresh fight to overturn the Sh1.1 billion judgment in favor of the taxman.
The global firm, which prints notes for Kenya through the local joint venture that is 40 percent owned by the Kenyan government, will release the last lot of workers by March.
While Kenya has struggled to retain and attract multinational manufacturers, it has recently become a magnet for technology firms and financial service companies seeking a hub for a larger share of the African market.
Global tech giants, including Microsoft, Alphabet Inc and Facebook, have been increasing investment in Kenya in recent years to take advantage of growing economies with rising access rates to the Internet by a youthful population.
Kenyan banks are facing a logistic crisis of supplying customers with cheques after dominant banknotes and security printer De La Rue announced plans to freeze local operations from March 31.
The banks are scrambling to seek alternative printers as the lenders advise their customers to stockpile cheques after the multinational made the shock announcement on January 20 to suspend operations on low business.
The moves by the local banks will stoke the debate over the future of cheques as their popularity falls significantly in favor of electronic money transfers, debit and credit cards as well mobile money services like M-Pesa.
Source: The Daily Nation, the highest circulation Kenyan independent newspaper