Afreximbank Annual Customer Due Diligence and Corporate Governance Forum (ACDICOG)

October 29, 2015

Ladies and Gentleman,

Welcome to the Seychelles, one of the most preferred destinations for tourists from all over the world in our continent and emerging leader of the blue economy. It is with great pleasure that we are hosting the Afreximbank’s second Forum on Customer Due Diligence and Corporate Governance Forum. The main theme of this year’s event is: “Growing World of Corporate Governance and Customer Due Diligence in Africa - Collaborative Approach to Emerging Challenges.”

It is indeed an honor and privilege for our country to host this important event at a time when Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Corporate Governance (CG) are once again gaining prominence at the global stage. One very clear explanation of the renewed interest is the rising globalization of business deals in the sense that companies, more than ever, are increasingly seeking cross-border and international partners to minimize risks and optimize returns.

At the same time, we are also witnessing in our world a rapidly evolving global phenomenon characterized by the rise of corporate scandals and corporate collapses; money laundering, fraud, corruption, and terrorist financing activities which are increasingly being detected in business deals. This challenging environment has led to increasing reference and emphasis on corporate governance and customer due diligence in both advanced and emerging market economies as a way to mitigate corporate risks.

Furthermore, more than globalizing the concept of Customer Due Diligence and Corporate Governance, there are concerted efforts to democratize and deepen it across institutions, both public and private. Increasingly we are seeing NGOs, Governments, private sectors players, investors, consumers, and even news organizations, urging companies to exercise extreme vigilance so as to avoid breaching of environmental, social, and ethical standards when conducting their operations and also ensure that their counterparts do operate within these boundaries.

Against these backdrops, we, the people of Seychelles are pleased to host this event which we believe, will provide us with deep insights on challenges, opportunities and mitigating mechanisms associated with due diligence and corporate governance especially in the African context. We also welcome the emphasis of the Forum on collaborative approaches and emerging challenges, which in recent years have been magnified by the growing costs of trade finance in a context of increasingly stringent regulatory environment. The collaborative approach will encourage countries and institutions to draw on global expertise and best practices to address old and emerging corporate governance challenges facing African countries and institutions.

At the same time, as African countries engage in the process of structural transformation and trade diversification, the Forum is particularly timely. A success on the path of structural transformation is predicated on the rise of globally competitive African corporations and enterprises which will be leading the process of value addition in a world where production, trade and investments are increasingly organized within global value chains.

Still this forum is also very relevant, in part because Seychelles is currently embarking on several development projects and initiatives which require massive investments and rise of successful corporations for sustainable growth. In this regards, we are looking forward to the deliberations and recommendations emerging from this Forum even to have a better understanding of the full contour of due diligence and corporate governance structure and their implications for ongoing efforts to accelerate the transformation of the economy of Seychelles.

In other words, the Forum will serve as a guide to prescribe and implement appropriate policies, procedures and regulations with a view to optimizing the benefits of applying best practices in customer due diligence and corporate governance across our country, and in the process ensure a successful implementation of development projects.

To take us into the increasingly complex and growing world of Corporate Governance and Customer due Diligence in Africa and reflect on collaborative approaches and emerging challenges, we have three distinguished leaders to open this important and timely annual Forum:

  • Dr. Benedict Oramah, the President of the African Export-Import Bank;
  • Ms. Caroline Abel, the Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles; and
  • HE. Danny Faure , Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles

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