Lagos: Central Bank chiefs in Africa have called for greater cooperation in developing strategies to enhance their regulatory functions and enable them meet the challenges of intervention in financial and economic crises on the continent. A statement from the Head, Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, at the weekend, said the continent’s banking sector watchdogs, made the call during a meeting at the sideline of the 2011 annual World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings holding in Washington D.C. The meeting was hosted by the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in association with the Commonwealth Business Council.
The statement said that the meeting was aimed at sharing views and experiences relating to the challenges of the ongoing global financial crisis and the effects on respective African countries. It said the meeting also had in attendance, other policy makers from countries in Africa and Europe.
Governor of the Central Bank of Mauritius, Rundheersing Bheenick, was quoted to have commended Sanusi, for the initiative and recommended that it should become a regular agenda at the annual World Bank/IMF meetings where Africa-specific issues will be discussed. According to the statement, Bheenick’s recommendation was endorsed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Uganda, Mr. Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile.
As more and more African countries are discovering oil, African economies are becoming more interlinked. Factors such as oil price movements would have similar impact across different countries, hence the need for thinking beyond national borders.
Bheenick pointed out that stronger cross border cooperation in Africa was crucial, particularly in developing solutions to the difficulties facing the financial sectors. He added: 'Such a forum provides valuable access to shared experiences in solving the problems of a small Regulator grappling with big issues in a small far away country.'
On his part, Sanusi asserted that trade between African countries which stood at about 10 per cent of total trade, must improve in order for Africa to achieve significant economic growth. He however maintained that the integration of cross border payment systems must be addressed in order to facilitate greater trade across nations. Sanusi urged participants to remain focused on their roles as central bankers, which he pointed out, were to protect the banking consumer.
'Banks are first of all institutions of safety before anything else. Consumers suffer when banking institutions are run primarily in the interest of Management and Shareholders. As more and more African countries are discovering oil, African economies are becoming more interlinked. Factors such as oil price movements would have similar impact across different countries, hence the need for thinking beyond national borders.' he said.
According to the statement, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Andrew Large, who was Guest Speaker at the event, had raised the issue of Macro-prudential policy and supervision.
'The forum considered that Africa’s economies remained vulnerable as long as the dire states of the economy in many European countries persist. Thus African central banks must be better prepared to carry out their fundamental responsibilities in averting or effectively dealing with any future crisis. There was a consensus that the entrenchment of the political independence of Central Banks was critical in the order to be effective in their role as Regulators,' it added.