The Africa Financial Industry Summit (AFIS) was held this week in Lomé, Togo, bringing together over 800 leaders in African finance to discuss the rapidly evolving landscape. Organized by pan-African magazine Jeune Afrique, the summit has become a premier event for the continent’s financial sector in just three years.
Experts note that while the industry has grown considerably, it also faces hurdles like rising public debt, climate change impacts, and accessing new sources of capital. However, as international banks withdraw, African institutions have a chance to expand their influence.
“Effective regulation is crucial for the rapid yet sustainable growth of the sector,” stressed Serge Ékué, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the West African Development Bank.
A key topic at the summit was the high cost of international borrowing, with interest rates up to 2.1% higher in sub-Saharan Africa. This heavy debt burden was highlighted by Rwandan Finance Minister Uzziel Ndagijimana, who called for rating agencies to better account for structural factors.
The potential of asset tokenization was also discussed as a way to unlock vast liquidity by making high-value assets tradable online. Meanwhile, cyber-attacks remain a threat, with African banks facing 2,164 attacks per week on average, according to regulator Alain Kaninda.
In the face of these obstacles, leaders at the summit expressed optimism about the future and the opportunities before them. By bringing together influential voices, AFIS continues to help shape the agenda for the African finance industry as it charts a course towards increased global significance.