The Bank of Uganda (BO.) has turned to Metrofile and CSX Customer Services to help it with a mammoth project to convert more than 70 years worth of analogue documents into digital and microfilm format.

As African organisations and government bodies start answering the global call to adhere to best of breed regulatory and compliance laws, banks in particular are recognising the need to manage their information and records more effectively. The Bank of Uganda is one of a handful of banks leading this race after acquiring the expertise of Metrofile and CSX to scan, archive and manage nearly 4-million records.
"With some of the BOU documents dating back to 1938 and all of them either in hard copy or analogue format, the bank was finding it nearly impossible to access stored records," says Mario Martins, divisional director of CSX Customer Services. "As the central bank of the country, it needs to manage monetary policies and regulatory risks, and in turn needs its documents in a format that allows for easy access to historical data. In short the BOU needed them ordered and organised in such a way that it could call upon them quickly should it need to reference them."
Established as the central bank of Uganda in 1966, BOU has responsibility for issuing Uganda's national currency the Uganda Shilling, as well as regulating the countries money supply. BOU also regulates the countries financial institutions, manages the countries external reserves and debt and advises the government in financial and economic issues.
The solution provided by Metrofile and CSX will result in all of BOU's records being converted into digital images over the next 10 months. Images will be scanned on equipment provided by CSX, stored on the Bank's database and accessed through software provided by Metrofile. An additional 400 000 documents will be converted to Microfilm.
Crucially for BOU, the time will be used to train local staff and to transfer know-how that will effectively see the bank become self sufficient for the ongoing scanning of all new records.
The project is not without challenges as some of the documents that require archiving vary in size and condition, and with some older documents dating back to before the 1930's. However, the end result will enable the bank to maintain the "integrity" of its data, as well as create a classification system that will allow it easier access to records without damaging the often fragile originals.
The use of microfilm allows the Bank to store and archive images that gives them legal validity as copies of the documentation that are accepted in a court of law as a true reflection of the original.
"As the project called for a labour presence stationed in Uganda, we engaged a third party supplier in the country to acquire, hire, train and supply local staff in order to meet project deadlines," says Graham Wackrill, CEO of Metrofile. "This workforce will be handed over to BOU on completion of the project ensuring that the bank is able to maintain its filing and archiving well into the future."