Collective action needed to shape Africa’s financial future


President of the Republic of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, has rallied African nations toward a collective endeavour to reclaim control over the continent’s narrative.

Speaking at the Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) 2023, in Lome, Togo’s capital city, President Gnassingbé emphasised the imperative need for concerted action to shape Africa’s financial destiny.

President Gnassingbé reiterated the importance of collective action in reclaiming Africa’s narrative amid ongoing crises, underscoring the African Continental Free Trade Area’s (AfCFTA) potential to deliver long-term gains.

“The theme of crisis gives way to the theme of opportunities. Economic dynamism in West Africa gives us reason to be optimistic. Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole is embarking on the path to recovery. The AfCFTA will anchor this recovery for the long-term,” the President said.

“We cannot regain control of the African narrative without concerted action. Africa must collectively regain the control of its narrative,” he added.

Since its inception in 2021, AFIS has evolved into a pivotal platform for public-private engagement dedicated to reshaping the African financial landscape.

This year’s edition, themed ‘Building a world-class african financial industry: A US$1.5trillion opportunity’, united leaders from both the public and private sectors; focusing on key challenges such as attracting local investments, ensuring regulatory harmony, fostering digital talent,and spearheading innovation in vital sectors like climate finance and tokenisation.

Amid a volatile global economic scenario marked by high inflation, rising interest rates and the retreat of major global financial institutions, AFIS 2023 aims to serve as a catalyst for Africa’s economic resurgence. The summit sought to chart a course for inclusive, robust and dependable finance, serving as a beacon for the continent’s economic recovery.

Sérgio Pimenta, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Vice President for Africa, highlighted the financial sector’s indispensable role in driving an inclusive and connected Africa; stressing that the fate of AfCFTA hinges not only on the public sector but significantly on decisive involvement of the private financial industry.

Ramatoulaye Goudiaby, Director-AFIS, echoed this sentiment – emphasising the need to seize the moment rather than passively endure crisis.

For two days, AFIS hosted over thirty conferences, workshops and roundtable discussions, providing a platform for leaders to actively contribute in Africa’s economic revival. This summit emerged as a pivotal dialogue platform, facilitating engagements between public sector figures such as Ministers of Economy and Finance, central bankers and regulators, and private sector leaders including major financial institutions, bankers, insurers, fintech companies and capital market operators.

Distinguished personalities present at the high-level exchanges included key figures like Sérgio Pimenta; Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, Governor-BCEAO; Mamo Esmelealem Mihretu, Governor-Central Bank of Ethiopia; Manuel António Tiago Dias, Governor-Central Bank of Angola; and various influential decision-makers from Ghana and across Africa.

The AFIS 2023 summit concluded with a shared commitment among participants to forge ahead with collaborative efforts, aimed at revitalising Africa’s financial narrative and laying the groundwork for a more prosperous financial landscape across the continent.

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