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March 28, 2024 | Mauritius

WAIFC's Africa Roundtable established

WAIFC's African members signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of the Africa Roundtable in Mauritius.

The Africa Roundtable includes the following members: the Economic Development Board of Mauritius (EDB), Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA), EnterpriseNGR of Nigeria, and Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL).

Signatories have agreed to jointly pursue the following objectives:

  1. Strengthen the competitiveness of financial centres in Africa;
  2. Collaborate, through projects, research papers, communiques and events to position the African Continent, to demonstrate the myriad of investment opportunities, and to showcase the role which financial centres play withing the African Continent;
  3. Conduct joint initiatives to support the exchange of best practices between members, enhance visibility regionally and internationally, and to provide African financial centres with a unified voice regionally and internationally;
  4. Facilitate the development of dialogue with major financial centres outside the African Continent;
  5. Build communication channels with African institutions including regulators and policy makers, as well as African financial services industry associations, and advocate for regulatory coordination amongst members of the Africa Roundtable to promote cross-border investment and financial services.

The MoU was signed by Mr. Ken Poonoosamy (EDB), Ms. Lamia Merzouki (CFCA), Nick Barige (RFL), and Obi Ibekwe (EnterpriseNGR). This signifies a pivotal step towards advancing the commitment of the WAIFC’s members of the African continent to facilitate greater collaboration, fostering sustainability, impact investment, and regional trade. Collaborative efforts will include joint projects, research, and events to promote further investment opportunities and the strategic role of financial centers.

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The inaugural meeting of the Africa Roundtable is scheduled in Mauritius on 29 March 2024, under the chairmanship of Mr. Ken Poonoosamy, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Board of Mauritius. During the meeting, the Members will discuss how to strengthen the competitiveness of the African financial centers in areas such as financing of regional trade and infrastructure, financial support to Small and Medium Enterprises and startups, financial technology, financial literacy and inclusion, energy transition, sustainability, and impact. Joint initiatives to promote capacity building, cross-border investments, and regulatory coordination, including communication with African institutions, regulators, and policymakers, will also be the focus of the meeting.

Said Ibrahimi, CEO of Casablanca Finance City Authority, said, “As a founding member of the WAIFC back in 2018, we are delighted to team up with our African peers for the launch of this chapter. This initiative presents a tremendous opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing amongst financial centers across the continent. By working together, we can unlock Africa's vast potential and position our region as a global hub for investment, trade, and innovation.”  
Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance Limited, noted that: "Kigali International Financial Centre is pleased to collaborate with peer African International Financial Centres for the launch of WAIFC Africa Chapter. This emphasises our mutual desire to collaborate in strengthening Africa’s presence in the global financial landscape, fostering innovation and driving sustainable economic development on the continent. Together, we will leverage our collective strength to unlock new opportunities and build a brighter future for Africa’s financial hubs.”

Commenting on this signature, the Chairperson of the Africa Roundtable, Mr. Ken Poonoosamy stated that “The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Africa Roundtable of the WAIFC represents a pivotal stride in fostering synergy among financial hubs within the African sphere, with the shared objective of catalysing economic advancement across the continent.”

Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer of EnterpriseNGR, Ms. Obi Ibekwe expressed her excitement over the unprecedented development. She said: “It is historic, and Nigeria fully endorses the Africa chapter of the WAIFC. This collaboration among the four African countries promises to bolster financial competitiveness on the Continent and amplify its global presence. We will leverage the platform to unlock the full potential of African financial centers to drive prosperity and development for our nations and beyond.”

Ms. Akshu Campbell-Holt, Head of Member Relations, WAIFC, reinforced the WAIFC’s commitment by adding: “The establishment of the WAIFC Africa Roundtable underscores our Members' commitment to strengthen the competitiveness of financial centers, facilitating sustainable development and prosperity in Africa while elevating the visibility of African centers both regionally and internationally. In celebrating this pivotal milestone, we reaffirm our commitment to facilitating deeper collaboration among our Members in Africa through the exchange of best practices to tackle common challenges and pressing issues in the region.”

The ceremony concluded with a group picture with Mauritius's Honourable Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development as Chief Guest.

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About the Members

Casablanca Finance City Authority (Morocco)

Casablanca Finance City (CFC) is an African economic and financial hub located at the crossroads of continents. Recognized as the leading financial center in Africa and a partner of the largest international financial centers, CFC has built a strong and thriving community of members across four categories: financial companies, regional headquarters of multinationals, service providers, and holdings.

Economic Development Board (Mauritius)

The EDB provides strong institutional support for strategic economic planning and ensures greater coherence and effectiveness in economic policy formulation; promotes Mauritius as an attractive investment and business center, a competitive export platform as well as an International Financial Centre; acts as the main institution responsible for country branding for investment promotion and ensures a conducive business environment.

EnterpriseNGR (Nigeria)

EnterpriseNGR is positioned to engage in both private sector and public sector advocacy with the aim of fostering a favorable operating environment for the Financial and Professional Services sector and championing the transformation of Nigeria into an international financial center.

Rwanda Finance Limited

The Kigali International Financial Centre positions itself as a professional, member-focused, transparent, and economic substance-oriented jurisdiction to facilitate increased cross-border trade and investments within Eastern and Central Africa.

About the WAIFC

The World Alliance of International Financial Centers (WAIFC) is a non-profit association registered in Belgium, representing 30 leading international financial centers on five continents. WAIFC members are city governments, associations, and similar institutions developing and promoting their financial centers. WAIFC facilitates cooperation between its members, the exchange of best practices, and communication with the general public.

About the Africa Roundtable of the WAIFC

The Africa Roundtable is a collaborative initiative within the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC) dedicated to promoting sustainable development and prosperity in African financial centers. The Regional Roundtable facilitates cooperation among its members, fostering initiatives that contribute to the growth of the financial services industry in Africa.

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