Strengthening the Role of African Sovereign Wealth Funds in the International Financial System: Interplay between Policy, Governance, and Sustainability
On Thursday and Friday, August 11-12, 2022, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum at the Wilson Center hosted the third High-level Meeting for Africa Sovereign Wealth Funds, “Strengthening the Role of African Sovereign Wealth Funds in the International Financial System: Interplay between Policy, Governance, and Sustainability,” in Washington, D.C. This meeting was part of the Forum’s Sovereign Wealth Fund series sponsored by Brown Capital Management.
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Senior level representatives from 18 countries, multilateral and pan-African organizations, including business leaders and academic experts met in Washington, D.C. from 11 to 12 August 2022 for a high-level meeting on “Strengthening the Role of African Sovereign Wealth Funds in the International Financial System: Interplay between Policy, Governance, and Sustainability.”
Participants included sovereign wealth fund (SWF) CEOs as well as deputy ministers, US officials, private sector leaders, and representatives from US and international financial, development, and academic institutions and initiatives—such as Power Africa, the African Union, the African Development Bank, Africa50, the United Nations Development Programme, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the US International Development Finance Agency, the Ohio State University, IE University, and the Wilson Center.
This meeting, held under the banner of the Wilson Center’s Brown Capital Management Africa Forum sponsored by Brown Capital Management, LLC, marked the Africa Forum’s third in its series on African Sovereign Wealth Funds building on the successful dialogue at the 2016 signature event "Long-Term Sustainable Development in Africa: the Role of Sovereign Wealth Funds" which was hosted in Washington, D.C. and the high-level meeting, "Sovereign Wealth Funds in Africa: Policies and Best Practices for Securing the Future", which was co-hosted by the Bank of Botswana in Gaborone, Botswana in 2019.
Ambassador Mark Green, Wilson Center President and CEO, officially opened the meeting while Mr. Eddie C. Brown, Founder and Executive Chairman of Brown Capital Management and former member of the Wilson Center Cabinet offered welcome remarks. The keynote address was given by Ms. Chinelo Anohu, Senior Director of the African Investment Forum at the African Development Bank.
Sixty delegates from 18 countries participated in the core deliberations over the course of the two days. They included CEOs of African SWFs as well as senior officials from African countries with established sovereign wealth funds and from countries currently in the process of establishing such funds, senior officials from multilateral and pan-African organizations, business leaders, and academic experts. Participating countries included Botswana, Cabo Verde, Djibouti, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Panama, Rwanda, Senegal, South Sudan, Tanzania, United States, and Zambia. Delegates included representatives from the United States Government as well as multilateral organizations including the African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and United National Joint SDG Fund, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Subject matter experts and practitioners hailed from the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds, the AfroChampions Initiative, Africa50, IE University (Spain), American University (United States), and the Ohio State University (United States).
Following a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and the closing ceremony at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the meeting concluded with an official dinner attended by delegates and Brown Capital Management leadership as well as members of the African Diplomatic Corps, Wilson Center leadership, and members of the Africa Program Advisory Council.
This was a closed, invitation-only meeting. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies aired via webcast.
Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are government-owned investment funds that serve as key tools for stabilizing economies, promoting development, and saving and transferring wealth to future generations. At least 22 African countries have sovereign wealth funds, and several more are considering or in the process of establishing one. As SWFs gain momentum on the continent, they can play an important role in aiding the continent’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, stabilization, and development.
This third meeting of the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum aimed to:
- Reflect on the impact of exogenous shocks, including COVID-19, on the governance and performance of SWFs globally and in Africa.
- Deliberate on the role of SWFs in promoting macroeconomic stability and advancing development, while promoting social responsibility and environmental sustainability.
- Explore strategic avenues for facilitating and expanding intra-African and international partnerships.
- Provide a forum for peer networking involving African countries with established SWFs and those in the process of establishing SWFs.
The two days provided for robust and in-depth discussions related to the key issues facing African sovereign wealth funds. In particular, discussions focused on key issues related to the changing socioeconomic impacts of SWFs in the Covid-19-era; investing for impact and lessons from other sectors; facilitating the next wave of African SWFs; enhancing strategic partnerships among African SWFs and international partners; and engaging multilateral organizations and strengthening Africa’s role in the international financial system. The meeting also included discussion of avenues for partnership with the US Government.
Some of the discussion outcomes included the recognition of African SWFs as: investment catalysts and conduits; diverse in mandates and modalities; largely nascent but increasingly impactful and profitable; useful for closing strategic investment gaps across the continent; revolutionizing development finance and green finance in Africa.
Most importantly, key themes emerged around strengthening policy, governance, sustainability, and partnerships related to African SWFs and delegates discussed and proposed practical recommendations related to these key themes. Furthermore, delegates had the opportunity to connect and strengthen existing relationships among the African SWF community. Several delegates called for the continuation of this dialogue as a regular platform for discussion and networking focused exclusively on African sovereign wealth funds.
The Wilson Center also published substantive summary of the meeting, including key outcomes, recommendations, and options for the way forward. Read the key outcomes conference report here.
This was a closed, invitation-only meeting with an online webcast for the opening and closing sessions and keynote address.
Launched in September 2015, the Brown Capital Management Africa Forum provides a premier platform for substantive and solution-oriented dialogue on key trade, investment, and development issues in Africa, and in U.S.-Africa relations. The Brown Capital Management Africa Forum has been generously funded by Brown Capital Management, LLC (Baltimore, MD) since its inception in 2015.
Follow @AfricaUpClose for event highlights and join the conversation using the hashtag #SWFsinAfrica and #SovereignWealthFunds.
The Africa Program works to address the most critical issues facing Africa and U.S.-Africa relations, build mutually beneficial U.S.-Africa relations, and enhance knowledge and understanding about Africa in the United States. The Program achieves its mission through in-depth research and analyses, public discussion, working groups, and briefings that bring together policymakers, practitioners, and subject matter experts to analyze and offer practical options for tackling key challenges in Africa and in U.S.-Africa relations. Read more
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