The Covid-19 pandemic-induced economic crisis has put the financial system at the centre of government response efforts, such as the granting of moratoriums on interest payments as well as special aid and emergency loans. As Africa weathers its first recession in 25 years and risk rises across all financial institutions, opening up dialogue between industry stakeholders and public authorities is essential to the success of economic recovery plans.
Regulate in the wake of the AfCFTA
The recent adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers a unique opportunity to rethink Africa’s financial industry. However, standardising regulations at the continental level is also a complex endeavour that will need to involve, in addition to regulatory agencies, policy-makers, development banks and private operators.
Innovation: regulate, test out and protect
As a pioneer in the digitisation of financial services, the continent also provides a unique testing ground and has the potential to become a driving force in shaping the rules set to govern the global development of fintech firms. From regulatory sandboxes to innovation offices, not to mention regtech, the opportunities for initiatives are legion and also depend on stakeholders’ ability to discuss possible changes while upholding consumer protections.
A controlled pan-African financial industry
On a continent where risks abound, the emergence in recent years of regional and pan-African banking groups raises the question of how to supervise and regulate them. The expansion of international regulations is also placing ever greater demands on the industry. How can regulators and regulated entities work together to standardise practices?