President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has charged bankers to be bold and resilient following economic difficulties created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adeshina who spoke at the weekend at the 2020 Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Fellowship Investiture assured that bankers and countries in Africa would weather the financial storm.
The ADB President, who was among those honoured at the event, said the bank has launched several initiatives to help countries in Africa recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Putting the impact of the pandemic on the world, he said: “So many lives have been lost. Economies have been devastated. Africa’s economic growth this year will decline by 3.4%. Globally, economies have gone into recession, as global trade, financial flows, investments, tourism and global supply chains have been disrupted. Millions of jobs have been lost. Consumer demand and business investments have declined. With huge fiscal stimulus packages, interest rates are at all-time lows”.
He noted that for bankers “these are tough times”, stressing that “yet, we must be bold, resilient and weather the storm”.
He explained that “the African Development Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to provide immediate liquidity for countries to meet urgent financing needs.
“The Bank also launched a $3 billion fight COVID-19 social bond on global capital markets, the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history, which is now listed on the London Stock Exchange, Luxembourg stock exchange and on Nasdaq”.
Adeshina who participated virtually, expressed satisfaction at the state of the ADB, noted that “despite the very challenging times, the African Development Bank maintained its triple-A ratings, with stable outlook, by all major global credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.
“The African Development Bank has maintained its stellar triple-A ratings for five years in a row since I was first elected President in 2015.
“The African Development Bank also achieved an increase in its capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest ever capital increase in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.
“The African Development Bank therefore stands ready to strongly support African countries, financial institutions and the private sector to accelerate Africa’s economic growth”.
He called for a collective effort to support “Nigeria to recover and build back, stronger, better, with greater economic resilience. Let’s join hands and deliver greater prosperity and hope for Nigeria”.
While thanking the CIBN for his investiture, he observed that “honorary awards are deposits of trust. They come with great responsibility. Responsibility to be exemplary, to work selflessly, and to be role models in the profession and for the society”.
Earlier, CIBN President, Mr Bayo Olugbemi, urged banks to consider conducting more market research on how customer needs might change in the Post Covid -19 era.
According to him, this will inform product development and process improvements.
He said: “I strongly believe that in a Post Covid-19 environment, banks will continue to strengthen their cyber security architecture against potential attacks by fraudsters, especially now that traffic has moved to the digital space.
“Banks will also continue to reinforce their Risk Management Framework in tandem with government policies”.
Highlight of the event was the conferment of awards on eminent and deserving personalities who had distinguished themselves in their various endeavours.
19 distinguished personalities were conferred with the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the Institute while 64 Associates would be elected into the Fellowship cadre.
Also, 101 Senior Executives would be admitted into the Honorary Senior Membership of the Institute.
Three Honorees who joined virtually are international figures.
They are, President, African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; Governor, Bank of Sierra Leone, Prof. Kelfala M. Kallon; and Mr John S. Davies, III, President, West African Bankers Association, President Liberian Bankers Association and President/CEO Liberian Bank for Development and Investment.