The Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) partnership, a unique platform for African financial sector development research, advocacy, knowledge management and networking, has launched a special webinar series on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on African economies and the financial sector.
The series offers a platform to discuss concerted actions to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on African economies and the financial sector.
The first webinar, held on 14 April, had policymakers and CEOs of financial institutions and other stakeholders, discuss the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African financial sector. The 90-minute session focused on major issues affecting financial institutions, such as lack of credit, rising non-performing loans, deteriorating service quality, and worsening business conditions.
Representatives from Cofina Group, UBA and Standard Bank, amongst others, warned that current regulatory responses only addressed immediate needs. They advocated for long-term solutions to scale up domestic capital markets and accelerate the digital transformation of African financial services. The panelists also offered immediate additional policy responses to strengthen the resilience of African financial systems.
During the 28 April session, development finance institutions discussed their programmes to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the African financial sector. These included mechanisms and facilities to help commercial banks and other financial institutions manage the adverse effects of the crisis. The panelists included representatives from the African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Agence française de développement (AFD), Proparco, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the West African Development Bank (BOAD).
Stefan Nalletamby, Director, Financial Sector Development at the African Development Bank, said the Bank stood ready to support African countries and specifically the financial sector during this critical time.
“The African Development Bank is committed to supporting its financial sector clients to ride out this crisis. Our response is designed to be flexible and respond to our clients’ needs, with a streamlined approval process to ensure that we can disburse quickly.” The Bank has committed up to $10 billion through a COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility to help African countries and businesses address the pandemic, of which $1.35 billion is earmarked for the private sector.
All panelists agreed that they shared “a development responsibility” amongst all DFI partners, as discussions anchored on the importance of global solidarity in combatting this “human” crisis. Future editions of the webinar will cover a broad range of topics, exploring financial options available to help cushion countries in the wake of the crisis.
For more details on the webinar series and to listen to recordings click: https://www.mfw4a.org/news-events. The next session, scheduled for May 19, will explore the impact of COVID on African capital markets, as well as the role of capital markets in the recovery post-crisis.