Embracing the unknown: Navigating the future of central banking

17 July 2023

Christian Nyalihama, a participant on the Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation programme, emphasises the programme's role in enabling him to embrace the unpredictable nature of the future of central banking.

The world is rapidly evolving, and so is the financial systems and central banking. This programme presented a unique opportunity to jump on that train, as it combines the possibility to learn from a renowned academic institution and a world-class central bank at the forefront of research, innovation, and better practices in central banking.

Having relished, to some extent, skills and practical knowledge from different resources delivered by the Bank of England Centre for Central Bank Studies, the expectations were high, and I can confidently say that my expectations were met. It is true that in this complex world, a lot can still be learnt. Still, considering the time constraints professionals usually face, the programme design, content and delivery were efficient.

I enjoyed many things about the programme during these last two and half years, and it would be hard to express them all. Nevertheless, there are three which are worthy of highlighting. Firstly, real-life case discussions and experiences shared by policymakers, experts and academicians involved in policymaking and research, especially during recent economic crises. Coming from a central bank in a developing market, this was an opportunity for me to get exposed to the realities of more developed and sophisticated financial markets, and this enriched perspective will prove beneficial in understanding and coping with complexities, challenges as well as opportunities arising from the rapid development and innovations we are currently witnessing in our financial systems, and more importantly participating in giving a push to this drive.

Secondly, online comments and discussions with fellow students from different professional backgrounds, including lawyers, financial analysts, regulators, etc., were rich and informative for me, with a background primarily in monetary policy and economic analysis. Some real-life experiences discussed could be debatable in some cases but allowed me to view things from a different perspective.

Last but not least, the program's flexibility, notably the ability to learn while working, as well as the time allocated for submitting individual assignments, which considered students’ professional commitment. I joined the program during the challenging time following the irruption of the Covid-19 crisis, where central banks were at the forefront, in an unusual situation, with daunting tasks ahead. The program's flexibility has been key for managing professional commitments and program requirements.  

In this new age of central banking and financial systems, with big challenges such as mistrust in the current monetary system, it is crucial to have a broader perspective, a systemic view of the economy and financial systems at local and global levels and understand existing and possible connections and interlinkages. This programme equipped me with crucial fundamentals, knowledge and skills needed to navigate in these hot waters with waves of uncertainties around the future of central banking, the financial systems’ landscape, the structure of the economy and different forces at play in globalization, trade and economic integration. Specifically, to leverage what we learnt regarding monetary policy, financial regulation and their interactions and be able to cope with implications of ongoing innovations and trends such as digital currencies, fintech, big data analysis and artificial Intelligence.

Nevertheless, one of the key lessons from history is that the future is uncertain. There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. This program, however, provides the solid foundations needed to embrace the future. One of its richness is how it illustrates the historical evolution of central banking and possible future paths. One of my takeaways is to continue learning and adapt to meet current and future challenges. To paraphrase Alvin Toffler, be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Lastly, the uncertainties surrounding the future also reminds us that our fate as humans is more linked than ever, the reason why this programme which bridges the existing knowledge gaps, is commendable and contributes to the path towards a prosperous future for the whole humanity, we all wish for.

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