Improving risk profile crucial to realizing economic, trade growth-Afreximbank

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MATTHEW OTOIJAGHA

Strong corporate governance and due diligence practices, coupled with the re-establishment of correspondent banking facilities, will ignite African trade and economic growth by improving the continent’s risk profile, Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Banking, at the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank), has said in Casablanca, Morocco.

Mr. Kamel, who was speaking while declaring open the Afreximbank Annual Customer Due Diligence and Corporate Governance (ACDICOG) forum, said that there were ongoing concerns about the limited availability of reliable and sustainable trade finance in the context of the widening financing gap as a result of the exodus of large global banks and financial institutions from the African trade finance space in the face of increasingly stringent compliance and regulatory regimes.

According to him, ‘‘that situation can be partly attributed to the over-estimation of African risks which tend to be much larger than the actual risks.”

“Afreximbank has made tremendous achievements in addressing the continent’s trade finance needs,” he told participants. “We have a number of programs and initiatives to bring together African financial institutions, corporate entities and regulators on customer due diligence and corporate governance matters to learn from best practices, reposition the continent and improve its risk profile.”

These included the Afreximbank African Correspondent Banking (AFRICORRBANKING) initiative, which will expand the access of African banks to correspondent banking facilities tailored to their needs, and the recently launched MANSA Repository Platform which is a centralized database for conducting customer due diligence checks on counterparties in Africa.

ACDICOG, now in its fifth year, enables participants from across the continent to deliberate on the effectiveness of current measures and to assess whether these are adequately promoting good governance and due diligence practices. It provides a platform for sharing ideas and for the implementation of best practices in addition to paving the way for a collaborative approach to de-risking issues affecting Africa.

The theme for this year’s forum is “Developing Capabilities to Minimize Negative Perception about Correspondent Banking in Africa: Enhancing Compliance, Governance and Financial Inclusion”.

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