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The 28th African Regional Group Meeting convenes in Cape Verde

Representing 27 financial institutions from 20 countries, WSBI Africa Regional Group convened in Cape Verde during 6-7 October 2022.

By Stephanie Yeze

Co-organized by WSBI and Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde, the Africa Regional Group came together physically for the first time since the last in-person meeting that was held in Zimbabwe back in 2019 during the 28th edition of these meeting series. As one of the long-lasting regional groups of WSBI, Africa Regional Group brings together members in the African region to keep close exchange on the members’ priority topics of the year.
This year’s meeting focused on “Banking Development Strategy & Leadership” and saw the active participation of more than 30 delegates from such countries as South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Morocco, Senegal and of course from the hosting country Cape Verde.
Following the welcoming speeches made by Mr. Antonio Moreira, CEO of CAIXA Económica de Cabo Verde, Mr. El Moussaoui M’hamed, Al Barid Bank President and also the newly named WSBI Africa Regional Group President, and Mr. Peter Simon, Managing Director of WSBI-ESBG, the two days event was officially inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Carlos Santos, Minister of the Cape Verde Government. During his speech, Mr. Santos highlighted that the 28th Strategic African Regional Group Meeting would allow participants to discuss relevant themes for the institutional developments, the banking development strategy activities and leadership as well as providing them with an analysis on the new trends for the banking sectors globally and at the level at the regional group.
The first day started with a panel on process ‘from postal financial services to retail bank’. During the panel, representatives from Al Barid Bank Morocco, Tanzania Commercial Bank and Central Bank of Cape Verde, were able to discuss the different angles and solutions to facilitate the process. On the second session, MicroBank, which is the social bank of the CaixaBank Group, made a presentation with a focus on inclusion through microcredit and other financing with social impact. During the panel, the participants were briefed on how the network of branches has adapted their financial products and services to the needs of not only entrepreneurs, microenterprises and also families in order to promote personal development, social progress and financial inclusion before and after the pandemic. The following session on “Developing MSME Growth in Africa” elaborated on the findings of the SOI 2022 report which examines the role of WSBI members in driving MSME growth in Africa. Finally, the last panel of the day put the emphasis on “Leadership and Change Management”. By working together, the whole audience was able to reflect on their own individual leadership and willingness to be open to a potential change of leading.

On the second day of the Africa Regional Group Meeting, WSBI members made presentations which included an overview of each country’s digital ecosystem and legal framework, the latest developments in each institution’s own digital infrastructure and digital offerings, gaps to be filled, plans for the future, and challenges to be addressed. On the last session, Mr. Antonio Moreira, CEO of Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde, was interviewed by WSBI Advisor Stephanie Yeze on his “Success Story” as Caixa Económica de Cabo Verde was selected earlier this year the “Best Bank in the Country”.
After intensive exchanges on a variety of topics, Mr. Simon concluded the 2-day event by highlighting the chances of WSBI’s network for its members both on the regional and cross-regional level. Members welcomed his suggestion to create work flows between WSBI members also at the “cross regional” level, a first example of which was conducted during WSBI’s World Congress in the form of the cross regional speed dating.

Stephanie Yeze is international & institutional relations advisor of WSBI-ESBG with expertise on Africa

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