African Corporate Governance Network reveals new project
02 August 2015
The Institute of Directors (IOD) Nigeria recently hosted a series of meetings of the African Corporate Governance Network (ACGN) in Lagos. The ACGN was founded in 2013 to help build capacity in corporate governance across the continent, so building better organisations and corporate citizens across Africa. Its members are united in their belief that strong corporate governance is essential to successful, sustainable companies and thus holds the key to African economic growth.
Held over three days the meetings included a member business forum and a keynote presentation by Professor Deon Rossouw, CEO of the Ethics Institute of South Africa, highlighting the cardinal values underpinning good governance: Responsibility, Accountability, Fairness, and Transparency.
The Lagos meetings also saw the steady expansion of the ACGN’s membership, with the African Securities Exchanges Association and Society for Corporate Governance Nigeria both signing up as members.
The agreement was signed by Jane Valls, CEO of the Mauritius Institute of Directors and Chairperson of the African Corporate Governance Network and Oscar Onyema, CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and President of ASEA, in Lagos, Nigeria. Jane Valls explained how good corporate governance can help Africa improve its global image.
“The agreement with ASEA will help us focus on listed companies, since they have an important position in the markets across Africa. We will work on training, on educating directors and on research to better identify the areas that need improvement. Corporate governance in Africa is key to building investor confidence, therefore strengthening the financial services sector,” she said.
An important outcome of the meetings was the finalisation of the publication plan for a joint ACGN/ EY report on corporate governance practices. The report is sponsored by EY, and will cover approximately 15 member countries. It is expected to be released in February 2016.
“Regular meetings such as this one play a critical role in building the ACGN across the African business and public-sector landscape,” says Jane Valls. “They offer members an opportunity to network, to hear new ideas and, most importantly, to welcome new members. The EY report is an important project because it will give us all an insight into the state of corporate governance across some of the continent’s major economies, and a benchmark against which we can measure the ACGN’s impact on African governance over time.”
“The continuing expansion of the ACGN is good news for Africa’s growth prospects,” says Angela Oosthuizen, CEO of the Institute of Directors in Southern Africa. “South Africa is fairly mature in corporate governance terms, having released the first King Code in 1994 and with the fourth revision now underway. We are committed to making our experience available to our colleagues in the ACGN, and hope that King IV will act as a benchmark for African codes of corporate governance.”