“While all central bankers agree that a great deal of focus should be on large, systemic financial institutions, there is also a need to revisit the regulation of small and niche banks”, says Yinka Sanni, Chief Executive: Africa Regions at Standard Bank Group, speaking at Standard Bank’s African Central Banks Conference (ACBC) in Johannesburg, this week.
The collapse of SVB and Signature Bank in the last week – and the resulting downturn for international banks – put the global spotlight on the effective governance of financial institutions and the role that central banks have to play in ensuring the viability and sustainability of banks. This was a central topic of discussion at Standard Bank’s ACBC. The two-day summit also focused on topical debates regarding Reserve Management, fintech and Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) discussing key themes within the broader monetary policy environment, economic development, financial markets stability, social justice and environment sustainability and how we can all respond to providing solutions to the shared challenges.
The events of the last week have forced analysts to recall the 2009 crash and its ramifications for the global economy. Governors and the major players in African finance who converged at the conference in South Africa were keen to assess these events and their impact on African economies, while proposing measures that can address Africa’s unique challenges in light of the global situation.
Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, said the war in Ukraine had compromised the recovery which had begun in 2021, as the global economy gradually opened up after the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The war’s effect on supply and cost of food, fertiliser and fuel presents a new set of challenges for managers of macro-economic policies. Central bank governors, in particular, now have a complex set of challenges to navigate,” he said. “Among these is inflation, which remains far above target and is showing signs for persistence in several sectors, even though the fear of a global recession now appears diminished. This means that our central banks need to do more to sustainably reduce inflation to meet the target”.
Sanni said that central banks in Africa face a range of challenges in managing inflation, promoting sustainability goals, and promoting financial inclusion to name a few, however, solutions such as innovative funding solutions in partnership with private sector capital is an enabler to deliver inclusive growth. “Even though the challenges are complex, I am confident that, together we can work to overcome them and achieve a sustainable future for the continent,” he concluded.