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 Developing African financial sectors

2012-04-02 00:00

USB Executive Development (USB-ED) is firmly set on shaping relationships and creating platforms upon which leaders from across the African continent may come together to learn, network and forge a sustainable future. A relationship that best demonstrates this is the one USB-ED shares with the Centre for Financial Regulation and Inclusion (Cenfri), a non-profit think-tank.
Cape Town-based Cenfri focuses on conducting and providing research and advice to support financial sector development and financial inclusion within developing countries across the globe. This goal is achieved through its facilitation of better regulation and market provision of financial services, involving such role-players as regulators, market players, and parties operating in the low-income market.
Prior to setting up their partnership, both USB-ED and Cenfri had been keenly involved in searching for a means of practically assisting players in African financial sectors. Cenfri was proactively contemplating ways in which to translate its research into capacity-building programmes that would support financial sector development, particularly in the context of Africa. At the same time, USB-ED had been actively considering expansion into the African market with executive education services.
Realising that there was much potential synergy between them, these two parties came together in 2008. Soon an agreement was entered into which formalised their desire to work together. This agreement combined their strengths and culminated in the development of training initiatives that would serve more effectively to promote positive change and growth in Africa’s financial sector.
The partnership has produced a number of Africa-focused programmes, the first of which was the Programme on Microinsurance Strategies for African Markets. This programme was jointly hosted in July, 2011. It was attended by 29 participants, of which two-thirds were from African countries beyond the borders of South Africa. Its success has prompted a second hosting of the programme in July, 2012.
Another intervention which USB-ED and Cenfri will present together, in cooperation with the National Payment Systems Institute, is the Programme on National Payment Systems in May 2012. This interactive programme seeks to develop the capacity of individuals involved in developing or building sustainable national payment systems worldwide. It will enable participants to effect change in a meaningful way through the provision of a thorough understanding of the policy, framework and regulatory issues in a typical national payment system (NPS), with a specific focus on the retail components and issues of the system.
Generally the information that would assist in developing a NPS is not readily available – for the most part remaining the intellectual domain of a select few. However, through the Programme on National Payment Systems, information on basic concepts, components of the NPS, the payment system landscape, clearing and settlement, open versus closed systems, regulatory landscape, payment instruments, payment standards, and bank and non-bank participants will be addressed.
The overall objective of this programme, and to a certain extent all programmes hosted by USB-ED and Cenfri, is to prepare participants to contribute more effectively and positively to regional and national growth, efficiency and financial inclusion.
For more information on this partnership and its programmes, contact Samantha Abrahams at tel: +27 (0)21 918 4210 or email:
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Africa; Finance