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The Third East African Finance Summit held at UNECA in Addis

Jimma University, in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, the FDRE Public Finance Enterprises Agency and the I-capital Africa Institute, organized the 3rd East Africa Finance Summit from December 18 to 19, 2017 at the United Nations Conference Centre, Addis Ababa with a grand theme “Financing the Future East Africa: …examining policies and practices…”

The Conference was attended by more than 350 delegates that include financial experts from Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa, active actors of the finance sector, bankers, insurance professionals, micro finance leaders, practitioners, government officials and intellectuals. The summit was held in the form of paper presentations, panel discussions, and an Exhibition

Dr. Gemechu Waketolla, CEO of the I-Capital Africa Institute, while delivering a welcoming speech said that the main objective of the finance summit is to provide a common platform for key players and stakeholders of the region’s financial sector to come together and discuss issues that matter most in shaping the future of the financial sector in East Africa  The conference is also aimed at  discussing  the Ethiopian context in terms of competiveness of the local finance sector in terms of services and products, capacity and skilled labor. 

The Guest of Honor of the event H.E. Dr.-Ing. Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Innovation and Technology, of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia passed a core message to the finance sector that it should detach from the traditional approach of financing those people who are able to present assets in the form of land and housing certificates or other assets like car as collateral. Nowadays, according to him, the youth possess innovative business idea that could transform the economy and generate employment opportunities to others but short of being realized due to financial constraints. Hence, the sector should drive itself towards accommodating diverse interests and consider inclusivity towards providing loan based on existing demands and by weighing competitive business proposal to promote innovation.  

Professor Fikre Lemessa, President of JU, through his delegate Dr. Temsegen Merba, vice president for Administration and Students Affairs, noted that Africa’s financial system and its future growth is closely intertwined with the development of the global financial system. However, it will be up to Africa’s policy makers, business community, bankers and other stakeholders to guide the operation of the sector to the right direction and in a way that could maximize opportunities and minimizes challenges. He further highlighted that there is a need to move forward to tackle the challenges faced by the sector by putting deep, transparent, accessible and robust financial markets, by issuing Adequate regulatory framework and Innovative financial instruments and other cutting edge solutions if the sector has to contribute for the aspired for development to the maximum possible extent.

Experts also deliberated on various issues including on the importance of merger, capital market and stock exchange, digital banking in East Africa finance sector, Participatory policy and regulation, Cyber security issues and new product development and growth trends in East Africa finance. 

An Exhibition was also organized during the two days of the conference- Banks, insurance and financial technologies suppliers took part in the exhibition. 

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