BY MADUABUCHI EFEGADI
The Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with Groupe Ascoma, a company of Chedid Capital, are teaming up to drive a new increased focus on compliance, transparency and ethical practices in the West and Central African markets, as the region looks to attract investment for its economic development.
West Africa and Central Africa have a collective gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $800 billion. West Africa’s GDP is $659 billion as of 2020, which rose from $105 billion in the 1990s. The largest economies in the region – Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire – accounted for one-quarter of Africa’s GDP in 2020.
On the other hand, Central Africa, with an area of 5.4 million square kilometres and a population of about 138 million had a nominal GDP of $130 billion in 2018, according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The work draws its strength from a new focus report produced by the duo titled: “West and Central Africa: Governance, Risk Management and Compliance”, which provides in-depth analysis of key issues relating to financial services, infrastructure and insurance against the broader regional socio-economic landscape, in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format featuring essential data and infographics.
It contains detailed coverage of the key role that private sector players such as Ascoma are expected to play in driving change and instilling a culture of insurance and reinsurance across business communities by identifying risks common to the region and providing effective, tailored solutions to them.
The report also maps out specific areas of the economy in which governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) principles are being given added weight, including mining, infrastructure and power and, and the financial services industry.
It also shines a spotlight on the way that doing business is evolving across the region’s economies at a time when ECOWAS and CEMAC members are keen to source funding for a vast range of intra-continental and domestic infrastructure projects. As such, it contains a focus on the developments undergoing in Gabon, Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire.
In addition, it includes contributions from key representatives such as Farid Chedid, chairman and CEO of Groupe Ascoma, and Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
In his commentary, Farid Chedid explained the importance of GRC principles for the economic stability of West and Central Africa. He said, “West and Central African markets require significant inflows of foreign direct investment, and need to be able to grow and create formal jobs for their relatively young populations.”
According to him, investors prioritise governance and risk management, and boards of directors have an important role to play in this regard. Technology has had an important effect in terms of catalysing GRC implementation in Africa, but will never replace the role of a board. Proper governance is not always straightforward in some African markets, which negatively impacts risk management and compliance.”
Bernardo Bruzzone, OBG’s Africa’s regional editor, said, GRC trends are at various levels of development in West and Central Africa, as are enforcement and penalty structures. According to him, progress is being made on all fronts, primarily led by the central banks of regional economic unions and alliance organisations.
Oxford Business Group (OBG) is a global research and advisory company with a presence in over 30 countries, spanning the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia. It is recognised internationally as a distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on world’s fastest-growing markets, termed The Yellow Slice, in reference to OBG’s corporate colour.
Groupe Ascoma is an international French insurance broking group based out of Monaco with a network of 23 subsidiaries and 780 employees across 21 countries with a Paris office holding international operations.