The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland on September 22 launched the East Africa chapter of the Africa Corporate Governance Program. The program aims to improve the performance of businesses in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania by helping them adopt good corporate governance practices in line with regional priorities.
Mohammed Nyaoga, Chairman of Central Bank of Kenya, spoke at the opening of the new chapter, highlighting the benefits of adopting good corporate governance practices, which include stronger company performance, better access to capital, and lower regulatory costs. He said, ‘Business leaders need to move beyond setting corporate governance rules and toward adopting behaviors that embed good practices into corporate values and everyday business decisions’’, he said.
Corporate governance refers to the structures and processes by which businesses are managed. The East Africa program will coach businesses on how to become more transparent and accountable to investors and stakeholders, according to IFC.
Cheikh Oumar Seydi, IFC’s Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said “IFC is supporting businesses in critical sectors for African development, including power, agribusiness and financial services. By further supporting good corporate governance practices within African companies, we expect them to carry lower financial and non-financial risk, and generate higher returns for shareholders. IFC and SECO’s corporate governance program will equip businesses in East Africa with the tools they need to attract and retain investment, and operate more efficiently, which in turn, will boost economic growth in the region.”
Mr. Ralf Heckner, the Ambassador, Embassy of Switzerland said, “Switzerland supports and funds IFC’s Africa Corporate Governance Program in East Africa, as we believe that a steady partnership between the public and the private sectors is key in building a strong economy, underpinned by social cohesion and sound environmental practices. Corporate governance in the private sector and good governance in the public sector are required to build a more transparent, more accountable and more prosperous world.”
The East Africa Corporate Governance Program builds on the experience of IFC and World Bank governance initiatives in other parts of the world. IFC is the first development finance institution to undertake corporate governance analysis of every investment transaction as part of its standard due diligence process. IFC works with the private sector in developing countries across the world to put in place corporate governance practices that allow businesses to mitigate risk, safeguard against mismanagement, and attract capital to fuel their growth.
The Africa Corporate Governance Program is funded by SECO, Switzerland and IFC is the implementing partner.