The world is facing a combination of crises with devastating consequences for the global economy. As a result, the African banking sector is not immune from external shocks following the Covid-19 pandemic and today the conflict between Russia and Ukraine affecting the fuel and grain supply chain.
In today’s environment, Akin Dawodu, Citi’s regional director for sub-Saharan Africa, believes these are problems for all stakeholders. Governments and banks should use all possible means to minimize these external shocks.
For this international finance expert, one of the solutions lies in the regulation of the banking sector. He believes that governments, in collaboration with financial actors, should seek to anticipate solutions capable of guaranteeing the flexibility of banking in order to better serve the economy.
“I think the economic crisis has taught us the importance of building shock absorbers and adequate capitalization to mitigate such shocks”he says.
Akin Dawodu is convinced that the new practices developed during the Covid-19 pandemic were beneficial when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out.
Citi builds financial bridges between large local corporations, sovereign corporations and international capital markets.
With operations in 16 countries, spanning North, West, East, South and Central Africa, combined with a global platform, Citi benefits from proximity to its customers across the continent.
Akin Dawodu says: ” With the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Citi has worked to build bridges between large local companies and international financial markets. We are well positioned across Africa to follow our clients as they relaunch their businesses and, most importantly, we have won new clients as the banking sector continues to transform into the continent. “
For Akin Dawodu, 2021 was a strategic year to increase capacity and record greater financial flows across Africa.
“This year and the year before we have seen a significant and rapid recovery in activity in several economies. “he points out.
During the pandemic, Citi migrated its customers to digital platforms. Although the Bank has been using digital solutions for several years, this evolution has become a priority.
“ We have been forced to migrate a large number of our customers to the digital platform to continue business activities, thus allowing everyone to work remotely. It was something new, but it allowed us to maintain a solid performance. “says Akin Dawodu.
In any case, the private sector is called upon to play a leading role in the pursuit of African growth. Citi is committed to developing the local financial market.
“It is important to develop the local financial market so that African entrepreneurs, essential for our economies, can develop their full potential”, Akin Dawodu points out.
In Nigeria, the development of the financial market through the FMDQ platform is a very good textbook case. Akin Dawodu is one of the protagonists of this “success story”. The latter remains optimistic about a possible reproduction of the Nigerian model in other sub-Saharan African states.
“Nigeria worked hard to develop local capital markets and encouraged young people to develop projects to invest in”he says.
On a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in early July 2022, Akin Dawodu met with Congolese authorities, including the Prime Minister of the Congolese government, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde.
Beyond the symbolism of a courtesy visit to congratulate the government and the Prime Minister of the DRC on the reforms and results achieved since 2019, he underlined Citi’s commitment to the country.
Citi began its first operations in Kinshasa in 1971 and is the oldest franchise in sub-Saharan Africa, subsequently opening a second office in Lubumbashi to serve mining customers.
Citi is a corporate and institutional bank that provides cash management, trade finance, treasury, banking and corporate finance solutions to clients.
The franchise also specializes in consulting, loan syndication, debt capital market structuring and offers a wide range of loan products; including working capital financing, short-term loans and export / import credit solutions supported by credit bureaus.
Citi plays a vital role in the Democratic Republic of Congo as the country’s primary US dollar clearing center and throughout its history Citi has provided banking services to critical United Nations (UN) operations.
Interview conducted by Patrick BOMBOKA