Magazine article New African

Building Development Finance Capacities: Stuart Kufeni Is the Chief Executive of the Botswana-Based SADC Development Finance Resource Centre. He Talks to Stephen Williams about the Importance of the Centre to the Overall Development of SADC's Financial Institutions

Magazine article New African

Building Development Finance Capacities: Stuart Kufeni Is the Chief Executive of the Botswana-Based SADC Development Finance Resource Centre. He Talks to Stephen Williams about the Importance of the Centre to the Overall Development of SADC's Financial Institutions

Article excerpt

SADC'S DEVELOPMENT FINANCE Resource Centre (DFRC) is playing an important role in building the capacities of the regions' financial institutions. It conducts policy research and advises the development finance institutions (DFIs) and SADC governments on how best to enhance economic growth.

Speaking with New African, Stuart Kufeni, CEO of SADC's DFRC, began by providing some background on the work of the Centre within the SADC region. "We are a SADC institution which operates under their finance and investment protocol," he says. "SADC has different arms of institutions that operate as subsidiaries to assist them in implementing their programmes. So the Centre is for development finance institutions.

"It is owned by SADC's national development finance institutions (DFIs), 27 as we speak. They range from the largest, the Development Bank of South Africa, right down to the smallest, the Basoto Development Corporation of Lesotho. So, all these are members of the Centre's network. We serve as a secretariat to the network, which is linked to SADC's Committee of Finance and Investment. As a SADC institution, our function is to try to strengthen the DFIs' institutional capacity, their investments and their management in terms of systems and operations--to strengthen them so that they become better agents for the mobilisation of resources to invest in specific projects as identified, by SADC countries--whether at a national level, or at the SADC level."

The Centre also arranges technical assistance programmes, where expert staff from private, regional and international finance institutions can be seconded to train DFI staff in a specialised area of interest. What is clear is that all the Centre's members assist each other, either by working in partnership or individually in their own capacity as DFIs, sharing the Centre's network of resources. The Centre also provides a forum where members can share experiences and develop best practices.

"We are there to facilitate these objectives," Kufeni observes, adding that, in terms of the Centre's mandate, "we conduct capacity building, and we are here to conduct policy research and provide advisory services for the DFIs. These are the core areas."

The Centre has identified two specific sectors to focus on: The small and medium enterprise (SME) sector--across all economic activities but notably in agribusiness, which most of the DFIs within the network concentrate on anyway, so the Centre's focus is highly complementary--and infrastructure development, which in terms of eliciting development within SADC is highly appropriate.

One of the projects that the Centre embarked upon, as part of its policy and advisory services to strengthen capacity and provide training skills, was a widening-out of a programme that has been up and running since the Centre was established in July 2003. The objective was to help the Centre's network of members to look beyond SADC's borders for financial resources.

"We said 'let's go further'," Kufeni explains. "With the economic downturn, there is intense competition for resources and the DFIs may well need to look beyond their borders, competing with South East Asia, Latin America and other emerging markets, to raise finance from the international capital markets.

"To do so, they will require a rating, so we put in place a project to obtain ratings for our members. This programme was funded in two ways; by the World Bank through the Public-Private Investment Advisory Facility and also through the Africa Capacity Building Foundation."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The first phase of this project was to commission a pilot programme. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.