2018 In Review: A Message from the Partnership’s Coordinator
As we approach the August break, I am pleased to share with you an update on our activities in the first half of this year and the details of some our initiatives planned for the final quarter of 2018.
Knowledge management is a cornerstone of MFW4A's mandate and mission. We have continued to strengthen our profile as an authoritative source of information on financial sector development in Africa. Our website enjoyed both growing traffic and greater engagement by its visitors-a 5.4% increase in website visitors was recorded, while the number of sessions per user grew by 8.3%. We are in the process of revamping the website, and expect to launch a new look, fresher more accessible version with increased multimedia capabilities in September. Our Webinar series continued with sessions on subjects including digital finance and capital markets, as well a series on Leveraging African Pension Funds for Housing Finance in Africa, in partnership with the Centre for Affordable Housing Finance (CAHF).
We also partnered with CAHF, the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Caisse Regionale de Refinancement Hypothécaire de l'UEMOA (CRRH-UEMOA) to organise a workshop on 'Mortgage Product Design and Portfolio Management' in Abidjan in February 2018. The workshop brought together over 40 executives of state agencies and commercial banks from 16 African countries to explore the opportunities and challenges related to building viable and sustainable housing finance operations in Africa.
MFW4A also launched our Trade Finance Initiative (TFI), in collaboration with the AfDB and with funding from BMZ and GIZ. The initiative started with a webinar, entitled 'Overcoming Challenges of Trade Finance in Africa,' on 21 March 2018. The TFI aims to improve the understanding of the trade finance market in Africa, promote regulatory compliance, and to build the capacity of local banks introduce sophisticated products and grow their trade finance business, particularly with SMEs. Other activities planned under the TFI, include policy workshops and capacity building events later this year.
In long term finance, the Secretariat is supporting a consortium of local pension funds who are looking to invest in infrastructure with capacity building. In keeping with the concerns raised by the Consortium members, MFW4A's capacity building will focus on PPPs and infrastructure investment. The first workshop is scheduled for Nairobi in early September. These interventions align with the Partnership's commitment to supporting the mobilisation of domestic savings for long term investment in Africa, a work stream which is also supporting the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), scheduled to take place on 7-9 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Also in September, we look forward to hosting the Francophone Africa Pension Funds Roundtable in Abidjan, in collaboration with FINACTU, a strategic consulting firm specializing in African development, and CIPRES, the Inter-African Conference of Social Welfare. The Roundtable aims to develop a common understanding of the issues and challenges facing pension funds in francophone Africa, in much the same way as the Secretariat has done for key anglophone markets.
MFW4A will launch a series of Regional Financial Sector Policy Dialogues, starting with West Africa in September. The event's aim is to take stock of current financial sector reforms in West Africa in order to identify priority actions for the coherent and robust development of the financial sector, with the final goal of informing national and DFI FSD strategies.
Finally, we will host the MFW4A Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Abidjan on 5-6 December. This flagship event will provide us with the opportunity to showcase the Partnership's achievements in the preceding period, as well as our plans and programmes going forward. It is also a platform to engage with you, our stakeholders, so please save the date.
We will of course be providing further details on all these events and much more in the coming months. In the meantime, it remains for me to wish you a restful summer and thank you for all your support. Your newsletter will return on 4 September.