Public and private institutions and development partners come together to discuss financial sector development in African states facing fragile situations
The First Regional Conference on Financial Sector Development in African States Facing Fragile Situations ended on Wednesday, June 29, 2016 with a major takeaway: Financial markets can play a key role in tackling fragility and building resilience in Africa.Abidjan, 5 July 2016 - The regional conference, a joint initiative created by the African Development Bank, the Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A), FSD Africa, the FIRST initiative and the Initiative for Risk Mitigation in Africa (IRMA) gathered leaders from both the private and public sector to discuss the links between fragility, resilience and financial sector development in Africa, and explore opportunities for partnerships, innovative policies and private sector-led solutions to accelerate financial sector development in fragile situations in Africa. The conference, which attracted more than 140 policy makers, business leaders, academics and development partners from over 20 countries, was officially launched on June 28, 2016 by the Acting Vice-President of the African Development Bank, Stefan Nalletamby, Director of FSD Africa, Mark Napier, Program Manager of the FIRST Initiative, Consolate Rusagara and Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) Coordinator, David Ashiagbor. In his address, Stefan Nalletamby expressed the Bank's readiness to work with the public and private sector as well as other development partners in reinforcing financial sectors in African countries facing situations of fragility. He said, "There isn't a silver bullet in addressing the challenges of fragility, but collective insights and combined and coordinated efforts can help accelerate the pace and effectiveness of financial sector reforms". "We are here to lend our support to, and to learn about inclusive market systems development in fragile situations," said FSD Africa Director Mark Napier. He went on to add, "There is greater demand from the public, private and donor partners to approach Africa's fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS), as is evidenced by the participation of some of the major stakeholders at the Conference". According to Consolate Rusagara, Program Manager of FIRST Initiative, "Fragility is not an African phenomenon alone, nor is it a permanent one. We hope that this event will start to change things and catalyze new partnerships between the private sector, the public sector and other non-state actors". Sibry Tapsoba, Director of the Bank's Transition Support Department emphasized the importance of the private sector to create jobs, especially in the current context where 10-12 million youth enter the job market every year, and only 3 million find formal jobs. Policy-makers have a key role to play in addressing the obstacles to financial sector development in fragile situations. A high-level panel included the Minister of Finance, Budget and Privatization of Burundi, Domitien Ndihokubwayo, Minister Delegate for the Budget to the Minister of State of Economy and Minister of Finance of Togo, Sani Yaya, Governor of the Central Bank of Guinée, Lounceny Nabe and Special Advisor to the Minister to the Prime Minister for the Economy and Finance of Côte d'Ivoire, Issa Fadiga. Leaders at the panel concurred that a good and solid execution of a financial sector development strategy requires strong leadership and needs to involve all stakeholders from the start. Much attention was also paid on the challenges financial institutions and investors face in African countries facing fragile situations and called for development partners to provide more opportunities to support the private sector in those countries. Amadou Sy, Senior Fellow and Director of the African Growth Institute, Brookings Institute raised the issue on de-risking as a critical area for donor coordination and catalysing private sector engagement in the financial sector of African countries facing fragile situations. Finally, the organizing partners concluded the regional conference with a marketplace that allowed delegates to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with fellow participants. You can download all the presentations on the conference website. You can also view a selection of photos here. ____________________________________________________________________ About the African Development Bank The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) is a multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries (RMCs), thus contributing to poverty reduction. The Financial Sector Development Department's (OFSD) mandate is to facilitate Africa's growth financing. The mission rests on two pillars: (i) financial inclusion of the underserved; and (ii) extending Africa's financial systems. OFSD supports on-lending to priority sectors such as agribusiness and micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) through lines of credit to financial institutions and the use of guarantees largely derived from executed risk participation (RPAs) under the Bank's Trade Finance Program. The Transition Support Department (ORTS) is the focal point for all issues related to the Bank Group's operations in States under fragile situations. It aims to enhance the Bank's support to RMCs' efforts towards a more resilient and inclusive development trajectory. It is also responsible for applying the Transition Support Facility (TSF) and conducting all fragility analysis. The mission of the Private Sector Department (OPSD) is to ensure the Bank Group's participation in private sector development of RMCs by means of lending, equity participation, guarantee and technical assistance related to the financing of private sector projects and programs, including small and medium-sized enterprises and privatization. About Making Finance Work for Africa The Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A) is a unique platform for joint action, disseminating ideas, and coordinating amongst and between donors and African financial sector stakeholders, to address financial sector development priorities on the continent. The Partnership brings together donors, African governments and the financial sector to help unleash the full potential of finance to enhance economic development and reduce poverty across the continent. MFW4A Partners share a common vision of innovative, robust and competitive African financial systems, providing near universal access by 2025, and offering a full range of products and services for the continent's real sector. A Secretariat was established in 2009 to support the activities of the Partnership, and is now hosted by the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. About FSD Africa Created in 2012, FSD Africa is a £30 million financial sector development programme based in Nairobi. It is funded by the UK Government's Department for International Development (DfID). FSD Africa aims to reduce poverty across sub-Saharan Africa by building financial markets that are efficient, robust and inclusive. FSD Africa is a market facilitator or catalyst. It applies a combination of resources, expertise and research to address financial market failures and deliver a lasting impact. It is also a regional platform. It fosters collaboration, best practice transfer, economies of scale and coherence between development agencies, donors, financial institutions, practitioners and government entities with a role in financial market development in sub-Saharan Africa. About FIRST Initiative The Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening Initiative (FIRST) promotes robust and diverse financial sectors in developing countries by providing rapid, targeted support. FIRST leverages the technical expertise of the World Bank Group and IMF to encourage financial sector development through technical assistance projects. To date, the FIRST Initiative has funded more than 690 projects in about 120 countries, deploying over $140 million. About the Initiative for Risk Mitigation in Africa The Initiative for Risk Mitigation in Africa (IRMA) was created in 2010 as a donor-funded activity housed at the AfDB. Its objective is to enhance the capacity of governments, banks and companies to understand the role of risk analysis and mitigation in financing, particularly of private infrastructure projects and public-private partnerships. IRMA is funded by the Government of Italy.