BAFT Launches Africa Council

by Blair Bernstein | Jun 11, 2020
On June 11, BAFT announced it has created a regional council to provide guidance and leadership for member services in sub-Saharan Africa. The council will bring together senior transaction banking leaders from organizations across Africa, looking to address common challenges in trade, payments, liquidity, regulations and innovation.

WASHINGTON — BAFT announced today it has created a regional council to provide guidance and leadership for member services in sub-Saharan Africa. The council will be led by co-chairs Ihunanya Onuoha of Access Bank PLC (Nigeria), and Kevin Holmes of Standard Bank (South Africa), who will also serve on the BAFT Board of Directors.

Onuoha is the group head of corporate operations for Access Bank, with more than 25 years of experience in domestic, international banking operations and trade finance.

“Access Bank prides itself in being at the forefront of positive change, driving innovations in the financial services sector as well as setting standards for sustainable business practices in all the markets that we serve,” said Onuoha. “We are delighted to join BAFT in promoting and pushing innovation in the global space, increasing impact in the financial services sector through the formation and implementation of policies geared towards improving financial services globally.”

Holmes, head of trade product management, worked with BAFT for several months to establish initial plans for the council. 

“I am honored to be part of the BAFT team, having worked with the council in various capacities during my tenure in trade finance,” said Holmes. “As African economies start the process of recovery, I am optimistic that through the Africa Free Trade Agreement, underpinned by the guidance and collective experience within the BAFT Africa Council, the region will exit this pandemic stronger. Standard Bank is taking a leading role in realizing the scale of this opportunity and we remain committed to playing a more meaningful role in addressing the growing trade finance gap.”

The council will bring together senior transaction banking leaders from organizations across Africa, looking to address common challenges in trade, payments, liquidity, regulations and innovation. Topics such as capital treatment for trade finance, transition from LIBOR, payments innovation, and de-risking in correspondent banking are among the various concerns of organizations in the region.

BAFT maintains regional councils in Asia, Europe, the Middle East & North Africa and North America to enable the transaction banking community to best leverage the association to address issues within the local region.

“We are delighted to re-establish the Africa Council to ensure proper engagement of one of the increasingly important regions for trade, payments and innovation,” said Tod Burwell, president and CEO, BAFT.  

About BAFT
BAFT, the leading global financial services association for international transaction banking, helps bridge solutions across financial institutions, service providers and the regulatory community that promote sound financial practices enabling innovation, efficiency, and commercial growth. BAFT engages on a wide range of topics affecting transaction banking, including trade finance, payments, and compliance.

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