IIPS Student Spotlight: Christopher Nanchengwa

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Author: Nwabisa Mazana

Christopher Nanchengwa is an Information Security Manager at Zambia Electronic Clearing House Limited. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in business administration with a major in finance and a professional career spanning over fifteen (15) years. Christopher has worked in various industries including IT service management, utilities, higher education, and now financial services.

We spoke to him about his IIPS Journey and what this has meant for his career.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career to date.

I am a proficient and experienced Information and Technology (I&T) Governance, Risk Management and Compliance specialist. I aim at contributing significantly to the development and appreciation of I&Ts and enhance their safe application to business management and economic development. I hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in business administration with a major in finance. Furthermore, I hold a range of professional certifications in digital finance, I&T governance, security, risk, and project management. I have a professional career spanning over fifteen (15) years working in various industries including IT service management, utilities, higher education, and now financial services. I am currently employed as the head of the Information Security function of the Zambia Electronic Clearing House Limited (ZECHL) and was responsible for the attainment of both the PCI DSS and ISO 27001 state of compliance. I also serve as the Education and Academic Relations board director of the Lusaka ISACA chapter.

I started working in digital financial services because of my passion for governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) and how it drew me to the financial industry, the move allowed me to extensively apply my knowledge and understanding of control environments.

What made you choose to participate in the IIPS programme?

I chose to participate in the IIPS programme to enhance my understanding of payment systems and develop my capability to support the governance and management of Zambia’s payment infrastructure.

How has your journey with DFI and the IIPS programme impacted your career?

From a career perspective, the IIPS programme has allowed me to fully participate in the governance and management of payment systems infrastructure. I now have a good understanding of the eco-payment system.  My attuned understanding of payment systems has enabled me to align my information security operations to support the growth of instant and inclusive payment setups. The clearing house is currently in the process of developing a strategic business span spanning over the next four years and our aspirations to enhance inclusive and instant payments drove us to plan for the undertaking of various critical projects. These projects include the national QR code, shared agency banking, business intelligence, and projects to interconnect with other regional payment systems. The proposed projects and other initiatives aimed at enhancing the eco-payment system of the country and supporting the growth of the economy.

Are there specific challenges or needs you are tackling today (in your organisation or community) that you would like to highlight? How has your knowledge of IIPS contributed to overcoming the challenge or satisfying a need?

One major challenge that I constantly face is the struggle to align our operational cost structure to enhance inclusivity. The technology requires capital investments and annual provisions for subsequent maintenance costs, at the same time we are required to meet service charges at a minimum. This situation tends to hinder investments in growth and improvement. Knowledge of IIPS and good business practices have encouraged us to refine our supply chains. We have further taken the approach of enhancing value in our product offerings. The switch has adopted and implemented several use cases that stimulate innovation at the last mile; our use cases have enabled fintech’s to develop and onboard value provisions to end users, these have allowed us to grow our transactions numbers as we push for sustainable growth and development. We have also adopted an inclusive approach as we deliberate on the governance and management of the eco-payment system by involving all critical stakeholders, these include banks, non-banks, regulators, fintech’s and other affected parties.

How did you come to know DFI, and what have you enjoyed most about your interactions with us?   

My first encounter with DFI was through Financial Sector Deepening Zambia (FSDZ). The course content has been timely, relevant and mind provoking; engagement with other learners has opened my mind to growth opportunities I did not see before.

What is it that motivates you to continue with the work you are doing?

I believe IIPS have the potential to grow African economies beyond what is currently pertaining. Africa is rich in resources that need to be translated into an investable form, including more residents in the eco-payment system which creates a fund pooling effect and can be utilised to support economic growth.

What are your hopes for the future, what would you like to see come to pass in this lifetime?

I would love to see and participate in the economic emancipation of the underprivileged and I believe IIPS has the potential of delivering on that aspiration.

 

Established in 2015, Digital Frontiers Institute is a proud brand of Digital Frontiers. Learn more about the Instant and Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS) programme and find out how to enrol: https://iipscertification.org/ 

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